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Portugal: linking VET programmes with the student exit profile

Portugal has developed the Exit profile of students leaving compulsory education (Order -Despacho No 6478/2017, de 26 de Julho). This profile is a frame of reference based on specific principles: freedom of choice, responsibility, work appraisal, self-awareness, family, community and social inclusion. A new decree-law (Decreto-lei No 55/2018, de 6 de Julho), issued by the education and labour ministries, relates explicitly the exit profile of students leaving compulsory education with the following VET programmes: professional, art education, and education and training programmes for young people.

The humanist-base of the profile promotes equality and human dignity; it also aims to shape responsible and autonomous people, and active citizens. However, it does not set up a minimum or ideal profile of a student. It intends to offer the best possible education opportunities to all, regardless of the education path they have chosen.

Embedding the seven principles of Edgar Morin (UNESCO, 1999), the student profile sets the vision, principles, and competences that decision- and policy-makers should be aware of while creating or updating a compulsory education curriculum. The vision refers to the wide range of knowledge and competences that students should have to develop critical thinking and become active citizens. Its main principles are knowledge, learning, inclusion, consistency, and flexibility. The ten competences that compulsory education graduates should possess are:

  1. consciousness and body control;
  2. languages and texts;
  3. information and communication;
  4. critical and creative thinking;
  5. reasoning and problem-solving;
  6. technical-scientific and technological knowledge;
  7. interpersonal relationship;
  8. personal development and autonomy;
  9. well-being health and environment;
  10. aesthetic and artistic sensibility.

Several changes in existing pedagogical approaches and methodologies are needed to achieve the aims of the profile. The following actions are envisaged:

  • linking educational content with student everyday life and problems using diversified material and resources;
  • using various educational techniques and tools inside and outside the classroom;
  • developing cooperative learning activities and increasing awareness;
  • promoting the critical use of information sources and ICT;
  • promoting optional activities and problem-solving learning approaches;
  • creating the appropriate space and time for students to interact freely and responsibly;
  • promoting new ways of student evaluation.

Full commitment from education staff, families and guardians is a prerequisite for the success of this policy.

Read more:

Perfil dos Alunos à Saída da Escolaridade Obrigatória
Seven complex lessons in education for the future by Edgar Morin. Unesco Publishing.
Despacho n.º 6478/2017 de 26 de Julho
Decreto-lei No 55/2018, de 6 de Julho