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EQF PRO GRID FOR MACRO LEVEL APPROACH. Portuguese context. Aurora Teixeira. September 2008


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Portuguese context

Aurora Teixeira September 2008

1 State of play

1.1. What is the current situation concerning qualifications which are likely to be classified at level 5 or 6 in the country, e.g. Higher education short cycle qualifications and Bachelors?

The Portuguese Education System is made up of preschool, compulsory, upper-secondary and higher education. Pre-school education is optional and is designed for children between 3 and school starting age.1

Compulsory schooling lasts for 9 years, from 6 to 15 years old. It is divided into three successive cycles that last 4, 2 and 3 years respectively.

Upper-secondary is structured into 3 academic years and is organised according to differentiated forms with permeability between courses, which are designed for further study or the job market.

Non-higher post upper-secondary is organised into specialised technology courses, which aim to qualify students for the job market and confer a level 4 vocational training (potential level 5 EQF).

The education and training of young people and adults provides a new opportunity to those with low level qualifications. A wide range of courses guarantee double school and vocational education (which corresponds to compulsory and upper-secondary education and a level 1, 2 or 3 vocational qualification).


Source: Ministry of Education – Portugal (2007).

Raising the levels of qualification of the Portuguese population was defined as a political priority. Within this context, the Government gives priority to:

ƒ Encouraging students to attend school until they reach the age of 18; ƒ Valuing the identity and importance of upper secondary education; ƒ Making the 12th grade a national educational minimum for all; ƒ Consolidating vocational-type training provision;

ƒ Bringing upper-secondary schools, professional schools and vocational training centres together in order to optimise resources.

Upper-secondary education is structured according to differentiated forms, both for further study or working life, including:

ƒ Scientific-humanistic courses, essentially directed at further study at higher education level;

ƒ Technological courses, designed for students that wish to join the job market;


Technological, specialised artistic and vocational courses allow students to continue studying at non higher post upper-secondary and higher education levels.

All students who complete this level are given a diploma of upper-secondary studies. Technological, specialised artistic and professional courses also confer level 3 vocational qualification certificate. The psychology and guidance services provide vocational and academic guidance to young people and establish educational support measures for students with learning difficulties.

The daylong school is one of the measures adopted to improve the learning environment in upper-secondary education. Schools should ensure a variety of educational activities when teachers are absent.

For the first time in ten years the number of students in upper-secondary education has risen: 13 000 more students attended this level of education in 2006/07.

Today, there is a clear diversification of educational provision. Schools allow students to complete upper-secondary education, learning a profession.


1.2. Which institutions are offering these qualifications?

Non-higher post upper-secondary education – potential Level 5 EQF

One of the objectives of non-higher post upper secondary education is based on the expansion of technological specialisation courses, facilitating technical training of a very high standard.

Technological Specialisation Courses (CET) facilitate specialised training paths in different technological areas, developing professional capacities and competencies.

This allows students to enter the job market or further study at a higher level. The training received on these courses can be credited on any higher education course that successful students may be admitted to. Passing a technological specialisation course confers a technological specialisation diploma and a level 4 vocational qualification (potential level 5 EQF). It can also give access to a Certificate of Professional Aptitude, awarded within the scope of the National Professional Certification System.

Technological specialisation courses are taught at a variety of training institutions, such as upper secondary establishments, vocational training centres and higher education establishments.

According to the most recent statistics, in 2002/03 638 students were enrolled in CET related course. This figure increased to 1767 in the academic year of 2003/04, then it further increased in 2004/05 up to 2040. In 2005/06 it decreased down to 860.

According to the National Catalogue of Qualifications, in Portugal there is only 10 qualifications potentially EQF level 5.2


Qualification Certification Professional profile

Training Refeence

Técnico/a Especialista de Animação em Turismo de

Saúde e Bem-estar 12º ano e Nível 4 Técnico/a Especialista de Auditoria a Sistemas de


12º ano e Nível 4 Técnico/a Especialista de Gestão de Turismo 12º ano e Nível 4 Técnico/a Especialista de Turismo Ambiental 12º ano e Nível 4

Técnico/a Especialista em Aplicações Informáticas de Gestão

12º ano e Nível 4

Técnico/a Especialista em Automação, Robótica e Controlo Industrial

12º ano e Nível 4

Técnico/a Especialista em Banca e Seguros 12º ano e Nível 4

Técnico/a Especialista em Condução de Obra 12º ano e Nível 4 Técnico/a Especialista em Gestão da Qualidade e do


12º ano e Nível 4 Técnico/a Especialista em Gestão de Redes e

Sistemas Informáticos

12º ano e Nível 4

Note: there is an official document (see Qualificações Técnico Especialista em Banca e

Seguros) for each of these courses where professional profile and training reference are


Higher education

Higher education includes universities and polytechnics administered by public, non-public or cooperative institutions. Universities award first degrees, master's degrees and doctorates. Polytechnic institutions award first degrees and master's degrees.

The XVII Government established the qualification of the Portuguese in Europe as one of the policy objectives for higher education, thus implementing the Bologna Declaration.

To do this, the principal mains are:

ƒ To improve the quality and the relevance of educational provision; ƒ To encourage student mobility;

ƒ To promote the internationalisation of training;


Higher education reform is part of the European movement of modernisation of universities and polytechnics for the development of the knowledge society.

Within the scope of the Bologna Declaration, higher education has been organised into three cycles. This change is paradigmatic of the transition from an educational system based on the idea of knowledge transmission to a system based on the development of competencies and the adoption of the ECTS - European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System.

The current Government passed the Decree-Law that instituted Assessment and Accreditation Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education and approves its Statutes. Such a measure represents a decisive step towards the construction of an internationally recognised quality assurance system, in line with principles created by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and adopted by the ministries of the Member States that signed up to the Bologna Declaration.

- Universities or other institutions linked to universities - private universities or private institutions

- VET institutions


How many students register each year in these programmes? Which percentage of students do they represent? How are they distributed among institutions?

What are the trends: increasing or decreasing number of qualifications offered?

Is derogatory access, continuing education, validation of non formal and informal learning possible?

Are there incentives coming from ? - ministry

- employers

- regions or communities - …

Are there tensions between sectors, institutions, qualifications?

Are discussions opened in the country concerning the definition of National Qualifications Framework? How do the people engaged in this discussion deal with the levels 5 and 6?

2 Position of employers, of social partners, of other potential partners

What is the position of employers, of social partners, of stakeholders in general regarding these qualifications? Is it different between short cycle programmes and Bachelor programmes?


Are they participating in teaching?

Are they offering placements for students? Are they contributing financially?

Are they recruiting student coming from these qualifications? To which ones are they giving more importance (short cycle programmes or Bachelor programmes)?

3 Professional impact of these qualifications

Is there an impact on level of responsibility in companies? Is there an impact on the level of salary?

Is there an impact on professional development? On the evolution of individual professional pathways? On mobility? On LLL opportunities?

4 Barriers, discontinuity or continuity between level 5 and level 6

Are there obstacles or barriers for individuals if they wish to carry on? To progress in lifelong and life-wide trajectories?

If yes, which kind of obstacles or barriers?

- institutional barriers:, separation between different types of training, of institutions, of ministries or authorities, …

- legal barriers: regulations,…


If not, which bridges are proposed? What are the conditions to meet?

Could the definition of a NQF be of some help?

Mutual trust or quality assurance?


Ministry of Education – Portugal (2007), Education and Training in Portugal, Lisbon: Ministry of Education Editorial.


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