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Reviews of National Policies for Education: Tertiary Education in Portugal 2007

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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. 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.

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Financing Tertiary Education

Finance policies are the single most important steering mechanism in higher education. This chapter argues that funding practices should support decentralised decision making to the maximum extent possible, while promoting efficient and effective use of resources. Budget allocation and accountability metrics should maximise efficiency; ensure adequacy, stability and predictability in funding; and demonstrate internal and external accountability for performance.

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