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Dual Qualification in Portugal
Vocational courses
 (back to index of schemes)


(1) National framework of the scheme; 
(2) Major features of the scheme;
(3) Educational concepts underlying the scheme;
(4) Organisational implications of the scheme;
(5) Evidence of the scheme's effect. 
Info unit 1 of 5 
Portugal: Vocational courses

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(1) National framework of the scheme

The latest curricular reform for Secondary Schools (DL.286/89) offered a range of education/training models, and diversified the courses oriented towards the labour market but which concurrently permitted the pursuit of higher studies (with one intention being to make the Technological and Professional courses more relevant). All these courses in vocational education lead to the award of a level III professional qualification diploma together with the diploma of secondary studies or its equivalent. 
    At the same time, the Portuguese System promoted the development of other models of education/training oriented towards the labour market such as: Professional courses within the Professional Schools; Specialised Artistic Education; Technical Courses of Recurrent Education; and the Apprenticeship System of the Institute for Employment and Professional Training. The Recurrent Education programme also provides access to higher education, comprising a second opportunity for those undertaking adult education/training. 
    All the models of education/training having courses oriented towards the labour market, for which the Education Ministry is responsible, result in dual qualifications, as graduates are also entitled to enter higher education.

Sources
DUOQUAL 
Contact

Teresa Oliveira
Info unit 2 of 5 
Portugal: Vocational courses

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(2) Major features of the scheme

Secondary Education is organised in courses with a three-year duration. Its goals include: the development of reasoning, reflection, scientific curiosity and a more in depth engagement with humanistic, artistic, scientific and technical culture that can serve as a cognitive support for the pursuit of studies and/or placement in the labour market.
    Broadly, it is obligatory in the vocational courses curricula to include components of general socio-cultural training, as well as scientific and technical training. The aim of the socio-cultural component is to develop general competencies, attitudes and knowledge; the scientific component includes studying the basic sciences on which the technologies are based and the technical/technological component or its practice corresponds to the preparation of the trainees for the work context.

Sources
DUOQUAL 
Contact

Teresa Oliveira
Info unit 3 of 5 
Portugal: Vocational courses

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(3) Educational concepts underlying the scheme

The Educational System aims to ensure that the training can contribute to the development of the individual's personality, responsibility, critical reasoning and creative thinking and the enhancement of the human dimension of work. That is a whole set of competencies that can prepare youth for citizenship and for life.
    The developments of modern society point towards the need for a system of education/training that promotes the development of young people not merely in the domain of knowing ‘how to do’ but, above all, in learning ‘how to be’, and towards the valorisation of the human dimension. All young people must feel integrated and recognised, for their participation in the labour market, and for their spirit of entrepreneurialism and solidarity. It is attempted to underscore scenarios of changes in the educational practices with ensuring that they can be implemented in practice. These scenarios give priority to multiple skills, such as flexibility, teamwork, creativity and autonomy, and a linkage between the school and the enterprises, with the intention of equipping young people with personal and professional skills that will enable them to face with confidence the challenges of modernity.
    The development of new professional skills appears to be a predominant factor for success. The teachers and trainers of vocational education and training (VET) must have a set of technical, teaching and social competencies in order to enable them to have effective interdisciplinary skills, which can serve as a generating source capable of helping young people to develop new professional competencies. Teachers and trainers for VET are: teachers with experience in teaching but without knowledge of the job market; technicians with training in teaching; and technicians and teachers working in teams. The qualifications required for the teachers and trainers to promote new professional competencies in VET may be supplemented with: integrated training in enterprises and services; specialised initial training in education; and training based on discussion and refection for the integration of knowledge in a system of alternance.

Sources
DUOQUAL 
Contact

Teresa Oliveira
Info unit 4 of 5 
Portugal: Vocational courses

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(4) Organisational implications of the scheme

The access to the labour market for young people is a national concern. The Ministry of Qualification and Employment (MQE), implemented in 1997 the ‘Programme of Support for the Integration of Youth in to Active Life’. The aims of this programme are to facilitate their occupational placement, and to ensure all young people have vocational qualifications before they enter the job market. In a similar vein, the ‘National Plan for Occupational Training Posts’, set up by MQE (in 1997), aims at the professional placement of young people with higher training and the creation of conditions that enable the reduction of unemployment for young people with vocational qualifications, but who have no professional training.
    The juridical existence of Professional Schools recently passed from the semi-private to the private sphere. The administrative reform introduced in 1997/98 implied a greater autonomy, simultaneously reinforcing the links of co-operation and partnership among the school, the enterprises, the local government and the professional associations. The administrative autonomy constitutes an important element for the Professional Schools to be able to reassert themselves as key players in the local dynamics, while the emphasis on the quality of education/learning, and better offers in training and job prospects can help reinforce the importance of their role in the local and regional development.

Sources
DUOQUAL 
Contact

Teresa Oliveira
Info unit 5 of 5 
Portugal: Vocational courses

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(5) Evidence of the scheme's effect

The choices of the students in secondary schools reveal a strong preference for general courses, with 71.2% choosing courses aimed exclusively at the pursuit of higher studies. This tendency to opt for general education, rather than education also oriented towards the labour market, has to do with the lack of recognition and social status, the symbolic value attributed to work, coupled with a deep concern related to unemployment.
    Recent studies indicate that in the opinion of the students attending the Professional Schools, the reason for their choice of these schools is related to the desire to be better prepared for the active life (81.4%) and to the desire to acquire a professional qualification (86.4%). For young people who are already working, professional placement represents personal and professional fulfilment (58.3%) and a challenge to their capacities (58.3%). Professional placement in the job market represents for these young people the possibility of becoming economically independent (41,7%). The students attending professional schools show a high degree of satisfaction with the training received at school and they do not intend to pursue higher studies.

Sources
DUOQUAL 
Contact

Teresa Oliveira

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Latest update: 25/04/2000
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