Criteria for definition of number of vacancies in public higher education
2012 - present
This measure is applied to bachelor degrees and integrated master degrees in public universities and polytechnic institutes.
The policy goal is to gradually reduce the number of unemployed graduates from public universities and polytechnic institutes by limiting the number of vacancies in the public higher education institutes, taking in consideration the level of unemployment of graduates in the calculation of the number of new places to be opened. It is an instrument regulating vacancies to be opened by calculating formulae of employability of graduates. There is a set of formulae that must be applied by each public university and polytechnic institute every year to determine if they can increase or must decrease the number of vacancies for each of the bachelors and integrated master courses they intend to open.
This measure was designed specifically to address skill mismatch by taking into consideration the labour market needs in the calculation of the number of university places for new students in the public higher institutions. In this measure, the labour market needs are addressed through the level of unemployment of the students that graduate from the public higher institutions.
Main responsible body
Ministry of Science Technology and Higher Education through the Directorate-General for Higher Education (DGES)
Directorate-General for Higher Education (DGES) is the central service of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education that ensures the implementation of the measure and the dissemination of the employability levels. The public universities and polytechnic institutes must comply with the measure in the calculation of the vacancies. The Directorate-General of Education and Science Statistics provides all the necessary information to calculate the unemployment levels. The applicants to public higher education institutes and their families can base their decisions on the employment levels of the institutions.
The state budget and the tuition fees paid by students finance the higher education, but his measure, in particular, doesn't imply any specific funding.
Individuals with complete secondary education or equivalent that want to obtain a degree in public universities and polytechnic institutes. The applicants to higher education benefit through reduction of the probability of unemployment after the graduation.
Use of labour market intelligence
The definition of the limit of vacancies in public universities and polytechnic institutes takes into consideration: the unemployment level of the institution/study cycle; the general unemployment level (uses the data from all the higher education institutes); and the unemployment level of the education/training area. The institution/study cycle with a high level of unemployment cannot raise the number of vacancies compared to the previous academic year (a high level of unemployment is considered when the value of unemployment in the institution/study cycle is superior to the general unemployment level). Due to the specific needs of the country, the measure also states that public institutes of higher education that have a medical course should ensure the maintenance of the number of vacancies of the previous academic year, and public institutes of higher education that have 1st grade school teachers degree should not increase the number of vacancies of the previous academic year.
This measure has no specific financial allocation. It is a criteria for the definition of the number of new students allowed. Though, public high school institutions are financed by criteria that include the number of students enrolled. Therefore, it has an indirect role in the financing of institutions, as it encourages a certain kind of offer and restricts other kind of offers).
Frequency of updates
Every year the universities and polytechnic institutes must apply the LMSI instruments in order to determine the number of vacancies.
Since the adoption, this instrument has not been adjusted yet.
Due to the recent implementation of the measure (5 years), there isn't any evidence of barriers to the implementation yet.
There isn't any evidence yet.
The Directorate-General for Higher Education, in cooperation with the Directorate-General of Education and Science Statistics, the Council of Portuguese Universities Rectors and Portuguese Polytechnics Coordinating Council are meant to have produced a study on the employability indicators and their use in the process of vacancies fixation, the outputs of which are not public, if it exists.
It is a way of using LMSI to reduce mismatch between high education degrees and labour market that was non-existent in the past in the country.
Evidence of effectiveness
Due to the recent implementation of the measure (5 years) and the duration of courses, it is too early to assess its impact on skills mismatch. There isn't yet enough evidence to assess unexpected benefits or costs.
Engagement of stakeholders
The regulation clearly specifies the role of the main institutional stakeholders. The Directorate-General for Higher Education ensures the implementation of the measure and the Directorate-General of Education and Science Statistics provides the data to be used in the formulas by the public universities and polytechnic institutes.
It is easily transferable to every country in which the State has a role in the definition of an offer of high education vacancies.
It is expected to continue, as it is an instrument to address the graduates skills mismatch issue, a topic that is gaining salience in the country, in the context of the high level of youth unemployment.