Educational policy analysis archives

Educational policy analysis archives

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Educational policy analysis archives
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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 8, no. 5 (January 10, 2000).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c January 10, 2000
Education policy in Portugal : changes and perspectives / Jesus Maria Sousa.
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University of South Florida.
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t Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
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1 of 9 T Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 8 Number 5January 10, 2000ISSN 1068-2341 A peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal Editor: Gene V Glass, College of Education Arizona State University Copyright 2000, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES. Permission is hereby granted to copy any article if EPAA is credited and copies are not sold. Articles appearing in EPAA are abstracted in the Current Index to Journals in Education by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation and are permanently archived in Resources in Education Education Policy in Portugal: Changes and Perspectives Jesus Maria Sousa Universidade da Madeira PortugalAbstractThe Revolution of 25 April 1974 in Portugal put an end to a forty-eight year old dictatorship, opening the country to democ racy. The purpose of this article is to describe education reform from t he standpoint of a country that experienced a major political transiti on and had to start from the very beginning to devise an education policy. R ather than merely describing the organization of the Portuguese educa tion system, I present a condensed analysis of Portuguese education policy as I view it, making use of indicators of the nature of an educat ion system proposed by D'Hainaut (1980).The Revolution of 25 April 1974 Portugal is a small country with a total area of 91,985 square kilometers located in the extreme west of Europe and with two archipelago s in the Atlantic Ocean, Azores and Madeira, which are politically autonomous regions. The resident population is 9.853 million; only one language is spoken throughout the country, Portuguese. The Revolution of 25 April 1974, in Portugal put an end to a forty-eight year old dictatorship, dominated by a political police force the so-called PIDE. After Salazar's


2 of 9death in 1968, the new primeminister Marcello Cae tano attempted the gradual opening up of the regime (the Marcellist Spring), but the d ictatorship had grown so corrupt that a revolution broke out in the early morning hours of 25 April 1974. Zeca Afonso's banned protest song "Grandola, Vila Morena" was broadcast on Portuguese radio as a secret signal to a group of rebel officers to move against the regime. The army, tired of the bloody and useless war in remote colonies in Africa led the Revolution. Most of the leading military officers of MFA (Armed Forces Move ment) were involved in left-wing activities. The Revolution was quite peaceful. It w as called the Carnations Revolution because carnations were in bloom at that time of th e year and were placed in the guns of the soldiers. The forces of the "ancien rgime" sur rendered with little resistance. The national euphoria did not last long. In spite of the coherent "three D's" political program, which promised Democracy, Decolo nization and Development, the MFA was not a unified body. Some officers wanted a liberal democratic state while others sought radical social transformations. In th e subsequent two-year period, there were six provisional governments, two presidents, a failed right-wing coup attempt, a failed left-wing coup attempt, three elections, sei zures of land and housing, bombings and strikes, while the country was flooded by milli ons of Portuguese settlers escaping from ex-colonies at war. Yet, surprisingly and cont rary to the expectations of most observers, national political leaders committed to a democratic system laid down by the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic were approv ed by the Constituent Assembly on 2 April 1976. According to the Constitution, Portugal i s a democratic state based on the rule of law, the sovereignty of people, the pluralism of de mocratic expression and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms for all citizens. T his democratic political organisation is based upon the principle of separation and inter dependence of the sovereign bodies: The President of the Republic, the Assembly of the Republic, the Government and the Courts.Education Policy in Portugal Having just celebrated the silver anniver sary of democracy in Portugal, I wish to share some information from the standpoint of a cou ntry that experienced a political transition and had to start from the very beginning to articulate an education policy. The Constitution approved in 1976 proclaimed that every one had the right to education based on a foundation of equal opportunities to both acce ss to and success at school. Being responsible for the democratization of education, t he state was not entitled to orient education and culture to any particular philosophic al, aesthetic, political or religious ideology. Education was also expected to minimize e conomic, social and cultural differences, stimulate democratic participation in a free society and promote mutual understanding, tolerance and a spirit of community. These general principles aimed at creating a "new" education were eagerly embraced by a changing society. Nevertheless, the Education System Act, which established the gen eral framework for the reorganization of the Portuguese education system, had to wait twelve years to be discussed in the Assembly of the Republic. The Law (Law 46/86) developing those principles written on the Constitution hasn't arriv ed so quickly as we could expect. However, it was the result of a large participation of the political parties. Five parties presented each a project of the Law, having all bee n voted favorably in general by all parliamentary groups. After a long debate of 175 ho urs along 30 meetings within the specialized committee, our Magna Carta of Education got an expressive approval in the Plenary of the Assembly of the Republic.


3 of 9 Considering that education policy is the translation of a series of political intentions, our Education System Act is one of the most important sources for this analysis. Where could one find a more explicit stat ement of intentions? In other official documents? In politicians' speeches? According to D 'Hainaut (1980), there are two ways of getting at the education policy of a country: ei ther through a content analysis of intentions, or an analysis of the reality, the latt er being more complicated. Analysis of intentions without reality or vice versa leaves the picture incomplete. Following D'Hainaut, I propose to concentrate on five indicat ors (among many possibilities), which reflect the values, the moral, political and cultur al philosophy, that's to say, the fundamental choices faced in developing Portugal's education policy: Focus on the Individual vs the Group; Past, Present or Future Or ientation; the Role of Political Ideologies; Access; Homogeneity.1. Focus on the Individual vs the Group The first question to be asked concerns w hether the education policy of Portugal gives priority to the individual or groups of indiv iduals. Does society as a whole matter more than the individual? Or is the policy designed for the interests of particular pressure groups, one social class more than the oth ers, an economic lobby, a political party or a religious group? Or is there a balance b etween the interests of each individual and the whole society? Or is the struggle among soc ial classes and the tension between the individual and society being ignored? In spite of acknowledging the contributio n of individual action to the development of society, the Education System Act shows a preocc upation with the individual. Over and over, it claims "the right to be different, out of respect for personalities and different ways of life, as well as consideration for and valu ing of different fields of knowledge and culture." ["...o direito diferena, merc do respeito pelas personalidades e pelos projectos individuais da existncia, bem como da co nsiderao e valorizao dos diferentes saberes e culturas."] But reality does n ot exactly accord with the Law. How to develop the individual's capacities? Are our school s provided with a variety of resources? Are they prepared to provide pupils diff erent options in subject matter? Are there individual curricula ? Do we contemplate an individual process of evalua tion of pupils? Contrary to the intentions embodied in the Education System Act, the reality of Portuguese education is closer to neglect of indivi dual differences. 2. Past, Present or Future Orientation Is the Portuguese education system lookin g to the past, to that "golden age", when everything was perfect? Is it focused on a past whe re one can find the "best" models for behavior, the national heroes? Is our priority the preservation of old traditions? Or are we interested in facing the present as we live it, in solving the problems as they appear to us at the moment? And what attention is given to th e future? And what kind of future is envisioned? A future that conforms to our plans and expectations, or an unpredictable future to which we must learn to adapt? The Education System Act asserts that the education system has to "contribute to the defense of the national identity and to the str engthening of allegiance to the nation's historic origins, through development of awareness of the cultural patrimony of the Portuguese people." But the same text goes on to sa y that this must be accomplished "in the frame of the universalist European tradition an d the growing interdependence and


4 of 9necessary solidarity among all the people of the wo rld." ["...contribuir para a defesa da identidade nacional e para o reforo da fidelidade matriz histrica, atravs da consciencializao relativamente ao patrimnio cult ural do povo portugus" (art.3.a.). " quadro da tradio universalista europeia e da crescente interdependncia e necessria solidariedade entre todos os povos do mu ndo." (art.3.a.).] "We are proudly alone!" Salazar said when Portugal was being pressu red by the nations of the world to grant independence to its colonies. Facing increasi ng globalization, Portugal is now implementing programs that look beyond its borders: a) International exchanges (students and teachers are encouraged to participat e in European exchange programs); b) access to world-wide repositories of information (p rimary schools have started to become linked to the internet); and c) emphasis on foreign language instruction (there are now instances of English teaching in primary sc hools). Portuguese education policy is oriented to the future more than to the past or the present. The schools are no longer focused on a "glorious" distant past, memorizing th e dynasties, and the kings and queens.3. Political Dynamics D'Hainaut's third analytic indicator has to do with political dynamics, the nature and the intensity of the changes the political forc es want to introduce into the education system. Do they seek a conservative, progressive or revolutionary system? For which political system are we preparing our pupils to be participants? Or are they not being prepared for political participation at all? Are th ey being prepared for a totalitarian, a democratic or an anarchist regime? And when "democr acy" is spoken of, is it the popular democracies of the past Soviet regime or th e contemporary Chinese regime? Or is reference made only to western democracies, eith er presidential or parliamentry? The Education System Act speaks of democratization of s ociety and teaching that guarantees "the right to a just and effective equality of oppo rtunity for access to and success in school." Education is expected to "promote the deve lopment of a democratic and pluralistic spirit, that respects others and their ideas, and is open to dialogue and a free exchange of opinions." Education is also expected t o "form citizens capable of judging with a critical and creative spirit the social mili eu of which they are part and to strive for its progressive transformation." ["...o direito a u ma justa e efectiva igualdade de oportunidades no acesso e sucesso escolares." "...p romover o desenvolvimento do esprito democrtico e pluralista, respeitador dos outros e das suas ideias, aberto ao dilogo e livre troca de opinies" (art.2.5.). ". ..formar cidados capazes de julgarem com esprito crtico e criativo o meio social em qu e se integram e de se empenharem na sua transformao progressiva." (art.2.5.).] Nevertheless, students' participation in school life has decreased significantly, in spite of the existence of academic associations in higher education and also in secondary schools. Perhaps, contemporary issues simply do not galvanize them to action as did those in the past when the end of war in the Africa n colonies was a popular student cause. Students appear to be more pragmatic now. Th e slogan "Not one more soldier to Africa" has been replaced by "No more fees!"4. Openness and Effectiveness of Education The fourth indicator proposed by D'Hainau t has to do with the openness and effectiveness of education. All political intention s are in accord in this respect, referring


5 of 9to the fact that all Portuguese people should have the right to education and culture. But the reality of attaining this goal is seen in the s chooling rates, illiteracy rates, length of compulsory education, and the like. Salazar used to say the democratization of education would go against "natural inequalities," the legiti mated and necessary hierarchy of values and persons in an well-ordered society. "It' s necessary to put an end to the legal overproduction of intellectual forces" the Ministry of Education said. (Monteiro, A. R. 1975. 144). "Illiteracy in Portugal is not recent a nd nor did it prevent our literature from becoming one of the richest in past centuries" Sala zar proclaimed. (Monteiro, A. R. 1975. 145-146). Compulsory education in Portugal after th e Revolution took the form of a program of Basic Education, which lasts nine years, divided into three consecutive cycles: a) First cycle, which lasts for four years (6 to 10 years ol d); b) Second cycle, which lasts for two years (10 to 12 years old); c) Third cycle, which l asts for three years (12 to 15 years old). Basic Education is free of charge: pupils don't nee d to pay any entrance or enrollment fees and they all have school insurance. General su pport, such as school meals, transports, books and materials are provided only t o the most needy pupils. Pre-school education is still optional, i n spite of being part of the state education system. The number of places available is less than the number of applicants. Secondary education is also not compulsory. It is organized i n a single cycle covering the 10th, 11th and 12th years of schooling and aims to consolidate and deepen the knowledge acquired in basic education to prepare young people both for further studies and for employment. Access to the university or polytechnic colleges is determined by the well-known numerus clausus A combination of secondary grades and performance on a national test is used to decide entrance to higher education. Tal ents and interests are simply ignored or subordinated to the need to balance supply and d emand for occupations. It often happens that a student who dreamed of becoming a do ctor is trained as a science teacher instead. And what possibilities for access to educa tion exist for older, non-traditional students? "Lifelong learning" has entered the vocab ulary of politicians. But what has been done other than traditional education? Has any one begun to experiment with continuous education, sabbaticals, the adult litera cy, and the like? Portugal has a long way to go to achieve a meaningful education system for non-traditional students. But openness and effectiveness of educati on is not only measured by criteria of access to a particular level of schooling. How many of those who enroll ever graduate? And how long does it take to complete each level of schooling? And what about early school-leaving and school failure? Little is known about any of these features of the education system.5. Homogeneity of Education By the "homogeneity of the education syst em"—D'Hainaut's fifth indicator—we mean whether the same quality education is availabl e for all people. In fact, education is very often stratified according to the age, sex and social origin of the persons to be educated. In my opinion, the Portuguese education s ystem measures up well in this respect. The Portuguese Education System Act was ac utely aware of these considerations when it recommended the goal of prov iding "a school system with a second opportunity for those who did not take adava ntage of opportunities at the appropriate age." (art.3.i.) or when it promised "t o assure equality of opportunities for both sexes. ." (art.3.j.) or when it referred to "cultural promotion." ["...uma escolaridade de segunda oportunidade aos que dela no usufruram na idade prpria..." (art.3.i.) The access of women to education is a fact now, contrar y to the situation in the past. In the


6 of 9last decade, women have entered some predominantly male professions, such as those related to law, medicine and university teaching. T he creation of new universities and polytechnic colleges has also promoted social mobil ity for disadvantaged groups. Geography can also affect the equality of schooling. The Education System Act acknowledged that Portugual's "unevenness of region al and local development should be corrected, which should enhance in all regions of t he country equal access to the benefits of education, culture, and science." ["...assimetri as de desenvolvimento regional e local a serem corrigidas, devendo incrementar em todas as r egies do Pas a igualdade no acesso aos benefcios da educao, da cultura e da cincia". (art.3.h.)]. Ten years ago, a Portuguese resident of Madeira had less chances of having a higher degree than a Portuguese citizen living on the mainland. The crea tion of the University of Madeira (the youngest Portuguese University) made real the political intention of correcting such geographic inequities. Another dimension of the hom ogeneity of education is the curriculum itself. Shall it be the same for all peo ple, or shall it be diversified according to each person's aptitudes, interests, social needs and talents? Shall it be the same for all Portugal, or is there a place for regional variatio ns according to regional needs? Little has been done in this regard. The nation's curricul um is still heavily centralized. Before the Revolution, one spoke of one uniform curriculum from Minho (a northern region from Portugal) to Timor. One curriculum remains too much the reality today.Conclusion Rather than merely describing the organis ation of the Portuguese education system, I have instead presented my interpretation of the system built by the new political regime. By contrasting intentions and rea lity, we learn at least three things about how policy shapes the education system: Education policy has two rarely coincident dimensio ns: an official and a real one. We can't say there isn't any education policy becau se there isn't any concrete document on it. Portugal waited twelve years for th e Education System Act to be written; this did not mean it lacked an education p olicy in the meantime. 1. Education policy is always in evolution. Eleven yea rs after the Law was published, it was rewritten (Law 115/97) with the introduction of an important measure on teacher education: The degree of licenciado is now absolutely necessary for the teaching of all levels (nursery and primary teachin g included). 2. Education policy does not only depend on the pronou ncements of politicians. It depends on the efforts of each of us—administrators professors, teachers—in our dayto-day work. We can corrupt wonderful principl es or we can give real meaning even to insipid political pronouncements. 3.NotesThis article was presented under the name "Portugue se Experience," at the ATEE Spring Conference "Changing Education in a Changing Society", at Klaipeda University, Lithuania, May, 1999. 1. The Editor thanks Alfinio Flores for translations o f selected portions of the Education System Act. 2.References


7 of 9 Constituio da Repblica Portuguesa de 1976 (Actua lised by the Constitutional Law n 1/97, 20 September.Commission Europenne, DG XXII: Education, Formatin et Jeunesse. (1996). Rformes dans l'enseignement obligatoire: 1984-1994 Bruxelles: Eurydice. D'Hainaut, L. (1980). Educao. Dos fins aos objectivos. Coimbra: Livraria Almedina. European Commission (DG XXII). (1999). Development in the field of education at the national level. Brussels: Eurydice National Units. Eurydice. CEDEFOP. European Commission. (1995). Structures of the Education and Initial Training Systems in the European Union. Brussels. Luxembourg: ECSC-EC-EAEC.Lei de Bases do Sistema Educativo (Law n 115/97, 1 9 September) Lei de Bases do Sistema Educativo (Law n 46/86, 14 October) Ministrio da Educao. (1998). Currculo, Programas e Aprendizagens. Lisboa: DES. Monteiro, A. R. (1975). Educao, acto poltico. Porto: Edies O Professor. White Paper on Education and Training (Memo/96/162) European Commission white paper teaching and learning: Towards the learning s ociety .About the AuthorJesus Maria SousaUniversity of Madeira, Department of Education Scie nces Campus Universitrio da Penteada, 9000-390 Funchal, Portugal Office phone number: 00-351-91-705203Fax number: 00-351-91-705229 Email: Jesus Maria Sousa holds a PhD in Teacher Education from the Centre d'tudes et de Recherches en Sciences de l'ducation in the Univer sity of Caen (France) and an MA in Curriculum Analysis and Organisation from the Unive rsity of Minho (Portugal). Since 1989, she has served as a professor in the Departme nt of Education Sciences in the University of Madeira (Portugal), being responsible for the area of Curriculum Theory and Development. From 1996 to 1998, Dr. Sousa was V ice-Rector of the University of Madeira for Pedagogical and Students Affairs, membe r of the Regional Education Council, and member of National University Evaluati on Council--Fundao das Universidades Portuguesas. She is part of the Resea rch and Development Centre 19 of the Association of Teacher Education in Europe (ATE E), working on Perspectives on Curriculum in Teacher Education, and is member in c harge of the international office of the Provisional Bureau for the Socit Europenne d 'Ethnographie en ducation, located at Lecce University (Italy). Currently, her researc h focuses on personal dimensions in teacher education, education ethnography and flexib le curricula.


8 of 9 Copyright 2000 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesThe World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is General questions about appropriateness of topics o r particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, or reach him at College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 8 5287-0211. (602-965-9644). The Commentary Editor is Casey D. C obb: .EPAA Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin Greg Camilli Rutgers University John Covaleskie Northern Michigan University Alan Davis University of Colorado, Denver Sherman Dorn University of South Florida Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Richard Garlikov Thomas F. Green Syracuse University Alison I. Griffith York University Arlen Gullickson Western Michigan University Ernest R. House University of Colorado Aimee Howley Ohio University Craig B. Howley Appalachia Educational Laboratory William Hunter University of Calgary Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas Mauhs-Pugh Green Mountain College Dewayne Matthews Western Interstate Commission for HigherEducation William McInerney Purdue University Mary McKeown-Moak MGT of America (Austin, TX) Les McLean University of Toronto Susan Bobbitt Nolen University of Washington Anne L. Pemberton Hugh G. Petrie SUNY Buffalo Richard C. Richardson New York University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University Dennis Sayers Ann Leavenworth Centerfor Accelerated Learning Jay D. Scribner University of Texas at Austin Michael Scriven Robert E. Stake University of Illinois—UC Robert Stonehill U.S. Department of Education David D. Williams Brigham Young University


9 of 9 EPAA Spanish Language Editorial BoardAssociate Editor for Spanish Language Roberto Rodrguez Gmez Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico Adrin Acosta (Mxico) Universidad de J. Flix Angulo Rasco (Spain) Universidad de Teresa Bracho (Mxico) Centro de Investigacin y DocenciaEconmica-CIDEbracho Alejandro Canales (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma Ursula Casanova (U.S.A.) Arizona State Jos Contreras Domingo Universitat de Barcelona Erwin Epstein (U.S.A.) Loyola University of Josu Gonzlez (U.S.A.) Arizona State Rollin Kent (Mxico)Departamento de InvestigacinEducativa-DIE/ Mara Beatriz Luce (Brazil)Universidad Federal de Rio Grande do Sul-UFRGSlucemb@orion.ufrgs.brJavier Mendoza Rojas (Mxico)Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicojaviermr@servidor.unam.mxMarcela Mollis (Argentina)Universidad de Buenos Humberto Muoz Garca (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicohumberto@servidor.unam.mxAngel Ignacio Prez Gmez (Spain)Universidad de Daniel Schugurensky (Argentina-Canad)OISE/UT, Simon Schwartzman (Brazil)Fundao Instituto Brasileiro e Geografiae Estatstica Jurjo Torres Santom (Spain)Universidad de A Carlos Alberto Torres (U.S.A.)University of California, Los


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