Portugal

Portugal’s Qualifica Programme is an integrated strategy to enhance the employability of adults by tackling the low qualification levels among the adult population. By 2021, it has already led to an increase in adult participation in training and in the number of adults obtaining qualifications. Qualifica operates through three main strategic structures and tools. A network of regional Qualifica Centres aim to bring adult learning and career guidance services closer to target populations. Furthermore, the Qualifica Passport is a digital tool that records an individual’s qualifications, skills, prior learning and interests, and provides guidance on qualifications pathways. Finally, the National Credit System sets out the units of learning that make up professional qualifications, allowing learners to accumulate learning outcomes and certification across different contexts. Between 2017 and 2020, over half a million adults enrolled in Qualifica Centres. Of these, 22% engaged in prior learning assessment and recognition, and 85% obtained a new certification (National Information provided to the OECD). Challenges remain in ensuring sustainable funding for the initiative and in recruiting and retaining high-quality adult educators and career guidance professionals.

In the early stages of the pandemic, Qualifica Centres across the country moved certification and supervision processes online and developed new distance-learning opportunities. In 2021, the government plans to launch the Qualifica Social Programme in response to a need for labour and skills in the social care sector (Porto Canal, 2020[6]).

Further reading: OECD (2020[7]), Education Policy Outlook: Portugal, www.oecd.org/education/policy-outlook/country-profile-Portugal-2020.pdf.

Portugal’s Skills 4 post-COVID Strategy was developed through collaboration between the Directorate-General for Higher Education, HEIs and employers to respond to both immediate challenges in 2020/21, and the medium-term structural issues highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Strategy aims to foster innovative teaching and learning practices in higher education, with a particular focus on inclusion and active learning pedagogies. It also aims to diversify the higher education offer, creating new opportunities for upskilling and reskilling, and to strengthen the relationship between higher education activities, science and the labour market. The Strategy builds on an assessment of the need for labour and skills (2019) and takes places alongside a Labour Market Relevance and Outcomes initiative conducted with the OECD (2019-21). Enhancing peer learning and networking between HEIs at national and international levels to promote knowledge sharing and embed innovative approaches is a key pillar of the Strategy. Portugal will collaborate with teams from Austria, Slovenia, and Hungary. During 2020/21, HEIs worked to disseminate innovative teaching and learning practices and developed an offer of short and modular courses.

Further reading: Office of the Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education of Portugal (2020[8]), Skills 4 pós-Covid – Competências para o futuro [Skills for post-COVID - Skills for the Future], https://www.portugal.gov.pt/download-ficheiros/ficheiro.aspx?v=%3d%3dBAAAAB%2bLCAAAAAAABACztDQwBQD4RCgOBAAAAA%3d%3d (accessed on 1 April 2021).

References

OECD (2020), Education Policy Outlook: Portugal, https://www.oecd.org/education/policy-outlook/country-profile-Portugal-2020.pdf (accessed on 28 October 2021). [7]

OECD (2020), Learning remotely when schools close: How well are students and schools prepared? Insights from PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/3bfda1f7-en. [2]

OECD (2020), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume II): Teachers and School Leaders as Valued Professionals, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/19cf08df-en. [1]

OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume II): Where All Students Can Succeed, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/b5fd1b8f-en. [4]

OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume III): What School Life Means for Students’ Lives, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/acd78851-en. [5]

OECD (2019), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume I): Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/1d0bc92a-en. [3]

Office of the Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education of Portugal (2020), Skills 4 pós-Covid – Competências para o futuro [Skills for post-COVID - Skills for the Future], https://www.portugal.gov.pt/download-ficheiros/ficheiro.aspx?v=%3d%3dBAAAAB%2bLCAAAAAAABACztDQwBQD4RCgOBAAAAA%3d%3d (accessed on 1 April 2021). [8]

Porto Canal (2020), Governo cria programa de qualificação dos trabalhadores do setor social [Government creates qualification program for social sector workers], https://portocanal.sapo.pt/noticia/238937 (accessed on 1 April 2021). [6]

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