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Portugal:Higher Education

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Overview Portugal

Contents

Portugal:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Portugal:Historical Development

Portugal:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Portugal:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Portugal:Political and Economic Situation

Portugal:Organisation and Governance

Portugal:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Portugal:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Portugal:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Portugal:Organisation of Private Education

Portugal:National Qualifications Framework

Portugal:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Portugal:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Portugal:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Portugal:Funding in Education

Portugal:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Portugal:Higher Education Funding

Portugal:Adult Education and Training Funding

Portugal:Early Childhood Education and Care

Portugal:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 3 years

Portugal:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 3 years

Portugal:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 3 years

Portugal:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 3 years

Portugal:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 3 years

Portugal:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 3 years

Portugal:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Portugal:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

Portugal:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Portugal:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Portugal:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Portugal:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

Portugal:Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Portugal:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Portugal:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Portugal:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Portugal:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Portugal:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Portugal:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Portugal:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Portugal:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Portugal:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Portugal:Higher Education

Portugal:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Portugal:First Cycle Programmes

Portugal:Bachelor

Portugal:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Portugal:Second Cycle Programmes

Portugal:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Portugal:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Portugal:Adult Education and Training

Portugal:Distribution of Responsibilities

Portugal:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Portugal:Main Providers

Portugal:Main Types of Provision

Portugal:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Portugal:Teachers and Education Staff

Portugal:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Portugal:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Portugal:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Portugal:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Portugal:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Portugal:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Portugal:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Portugal:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Portugal:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Portugal:Management and Other Education Staff

Portugal:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Portugal:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Portugal:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Portugal:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Portugal:Management Staff for Higher Education

Portugal:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Portugal:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Portugal:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Portugal:Quality Assurance

Portugal:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Portugal:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Portugal:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Portugal:Educational Support and Guidance

Portugal:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Portugal:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Portugal:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Portugal:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Portugal:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Portugal:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Portugal:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Portugal:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Portugal:Mobility and Internationalisation

Portugal:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Portugal:Mobility in Higher Education

Portugal:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Portugal:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Portugal:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Portugal:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Portugal:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Portugal:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Portugal:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Portugal:National Reforms in School Education

Portugal:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Portugal:National Reforms in Higher Education

Portugal:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Portugal:European Perspective

Portugal:Legislation

Portugal:Institutions

Portugal:Glossary

One of the objectives of the XXI Government is to implement policies aiming at making Portugal a science, culture and knowledge country. Investment in these areas is envisaged as a collective project for the future of the country, essential to raise the skills of the Portuguese population up to the level of the most developed European countries.

Such measures include:

  • Valorisation of the technical professional Higher Education courses («cursos técnicos superiores profissionais» corresponding to the short cycle linked to a first cycle of the Bologna Process), offered by the Polytechnic Higher Education Institutions, and the redefinition of their graduates admission conditions for first cycle courses;
  • launching of a widely participated process about joint discussion on the admission system to higher education aiming at, namely, broadening the students’ recruitment base;
  • approval of the “Commitment with Knowledge and Science: the Commitment with the Future” Agenda, for the years 2016 to 2019. This agenda is designed to create and ensure the maintenance of a system stimulating scientific employment in stable conditions and with professional dignity;
  • starting a Program for the Modernization and Valorisation of Polytechnic Institutesthat comprises a stimulus to R&D activities in close cooperation with local partners at the level of (both initial and specialized) short-cycle training, focused on the productive and services sectors;
  • development, with the higher education institutions, of a mechanism that supports the inclusion of refugees;
  • implementation of a National Policy of Open Science, aiming at the public and open access to scientific publications and data that result from research financed by public funding;
  • approval of a Scientific Employment Stimulus Program, including the phased replacement of post-doc scholarships by employment contracts and the renewal of the research staff;
  • concerning a strategy of qualification reinforcement and scientific development in the area of health:
    • ​creation of a National Council of the Clinical Academic Centres, with the purpose of stimulating and supporting the coordinated development of this Centres’ activity;
    • creation of a work group for the designing of a development plan of clinical and translational research and of the biomedical research including the creation of a Clinical Research and Biomedical Innovation Agency;
  • support and stimulus to the creation of consortiums in several fields through the cooperation between higher education institutions, research units and Public Laboratories;
  • launching of the initiative “Public Participation Laboratories”, in narrow cooperation with the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture, Ciência Viva;
  • restructuring of the assessment methodology of R&D units; the workgroup Evaluation of Science and Technology was created for this purpose, with the mission of identifying the guidelines for the principles and good practices in the evaluation of science and technology to be adopted by the Science and Technology Foundation within the evaluation program that will be undertaken in 2017;
  • launching of a plan for administrative rationalization, bureaucracy removal and procedures simplification in all R&D and higher education institutions;
  • joint effort to launch a “Knowledge for Development Initiative”; this initiative has already relaunched the “GLOBAL Science” Program, which aims at facilitating national involvement in the capacitation of researchers from African Portuguese speaking countries.

 

The Portuguese higher education system is organized as a binary system that integrates the university and the polytechnic systems.

Law No. 46/86, 14thOctober, amended by Laws 115/97, 19th September49/2005, 30th August and 85/2009, 27th August – the Comprehensive Law on the Education System – established, via the 2005 amendment, the adoption of the model of three cycles leading to three types of degree – Licenciatura (1st Cycle) Mestrado (2nd Cycle) and Doutoramento (3rdCycle).

It also establishes the need to create conditions that allow all citizens to access lifelong learning.

In pursuit of those goals, the legal system for Higher Education degrees and diplomas was approved by Decree-Law No. 74/2006, 24th March, and later amended by Decrees-Law No. 107/2008, 25th JuneNo. 230/2009, 14th September and No. 115/2013, 7th August.

The adoption of tools for the creation of the European Higher Education Area, in particular the ECTS credit system and the Diploma Supplement, had been started with the approval of Decree-Law 42/2005, 22nd February, later amended by Decree Law No. 107/2008, 25th June.

According to this legislation, the academic year can be organized into years, semesters, terms or another form.

In any of these cases, a full-time academic year is between 1,500 and 1,680 hours, which corresponds to between 36 and 40 weeks.

Institutions are autonomous and fix all periods of teaching activity and holidays.

Typically, 1st semester goes from the second or third week of September to the second or third week of December; 2nd semester starts in the second week of February and ends in the end of May. The 2nd semester has a two to four days interruption for Carnival (end of February) and a one week interruption for Easter (mid-April).

The teaching department, teachers and students are entirely free to fix examination dates jointly. Normally there are two examinations periods: the 1st between the end of December and the first week of February; the 2nd between the beginning of June and the end of July.

As a complement to Decree-Law No. 74/2006, the Higher Education Assessment and Accreditation Agency (A3ES) was created via Decree-Law No. 369/2007, 5th November and is an independent body responsible for assessing and accrediting higher education institutions and their study cycles as part of higher education quality assurance system.

The legal framework for higher education assessment applied by the Higher Education Assessment and Accreditation Agency is approved by Law No. 38/2007, 16th August.

The study cycles leading to academic degrees lacks accreditation by the Higher Education Assessment and Accreditation Agency and subsequent registration with the appropriate Ministry - Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, via the Directorate General of Higher Education.

Law No. 62/2007, 10th September, establishes the legal framework for higher education institutions, regulating their creation, duties and organization, the operation and responsibilities of their different bodies and even the overseeing and supervision by the State, as part of its autonomy.

The general access and enrolment system in higher education is established by Decree-Law No. 296-A / 98, 25th September, in the wording of Decree-Law No. 90/2008, 30th May, amended by Declaration of Rectification No. 32-C / 2008, 16th June.

There are special enrolment processes for students who have completed a higher education cycle not leading to an academic degree (professional courses) regulated by Decree-Law no. 113/2014, 16th July.

Law No. 37/2003, 22nd August, establishes the funding basis of higher education, which is based in a three-way relationship between State and the HEIs, the Students and HEIs, and the State and the Students. This Law was altered by Law No. 49/2005, 30th August, and by Law No. 62/2007, 10th September.

Decree-Law No. 43/2014, 18th March, establishes and regulates a cycle of higher education studies not leading to an academic degree but a higher vocational diploma.

 

Foreign Student Statute

Decree-Law no. 36/2014, 10th March, creates the International Student Statute through a special access system for 1st and 2nd higher education cycles regulating the status of international students, establishing a special system for access to undergraduate studies and integrated Master’s studies.

The new Statute will facilitate access to Portuguese higher education for foreign students through a specific access system as well as will enable HEIs to charge fees above the threshold fixed by law for Portuguese students.

These students will be admitted exclusively through this access. Candidates can apply if they have a diploma that allows access to higher education in the country where it was obtained, or if they have completed Portuguese upper-secondary education or an equivalent study cycle.

This is an additional system that does not reduce the number of places available to Portuguese and European community students nor interfere with their access and enrolment processes.

Students admitted in this new scheme will not be considered for state higher education funding. However, in accordance with the laws governing the financing of higher education, state institutions may set different fees, taking into account the actual cost of the training course.

The approval of this legislation does not affect the special arrangements for access and admission to higher education for scholarship students from African Portuguese-speaking countries, within the framework of cooperation agreements signed by the Portuguese State.

It is important to note that this legislation is part of the strategy of internationalization of higher education.

For further information about ongoing reforms on Higher Education see chapter National Reforms in Higher Education.