Reviews of National Policies for Education: Tertiary Education in Portugal


Executive summary | Table of contents | How to obtain this publication

ISBN: 9789264009769
Publication: 27/11/2007
Pages: 325


Reviews of National Policies for Education: Tertiary Education in Portugal

Portugal’s tertiary education sector has expanded significantly over the last 20 years, but participation and overall educational attainment levels remain below European standards and enrolment rates have begun to decline. Portugal will need to invest more over the long term in its universities and other post-secondary institutions if it wants to raise attainment levels to standards similar to those of other European countries.

The OECD review recommends that Portugal’s national government should focus on strategic direction and leave higher education institutions wider latitude for accomplishing public priorities consistent with their mission. Among its proposals for reform, the review calls for the creation of a National Council on Higher Education to oversee Portugal’s higher education strategy. The review also calls for major changes in the governance and management of higher education institutions to bring them into line with national goals, encourage their responsiveness and efficiency, and improve their quality.

Improving research and innovation is a key strategic objective of the Portuguese government, and the OECD review suggests a number of qualitative changes in Portugal’s tertiary education system to enhance performance in this area. Among other issues addressed are student social supports, private contributions, access, quality improvement, outward orientation and external stakeholder involvement.

Executive summary

The Portuguese higher education system faces a number of important issues that the government is determined to tackle. These include financing of institutions and students, system steering, institutional autonomy, research and development, governance of the individual institutions, and participation of external stakeholders in governance and the binary system. These matters need to be addressed and resolved, for without doing so any nation – and Portugal is no exception – will be ill-prepared to keep pace in the knowledge based economy.

Table of contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Chapter 1. Introduction and Context
  • Chapter 2. System Diversity and System Co-ordination
  • Chapter 3. Institutional Governance
  • Chapter 4. Educational Programmes: Access, Quality and Relevance
  • Chapter 5. Research, Innovation and Internationalisation
  • Chapter 6. Financing Tertiary Education
  • Chapter 7. Conclusions
  • Annex A. Schedule of Visit 15-26 May, 2006
  • Annex B. List of Submissions
  • Annex C. History of Governance
  • Annex D. Income-contingent Loans
    Annex E. Terms of Reference for the OECD Team
  • Annex F. List of Acronyms



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