20,1% of students enrolled in public schools in the Algarve are foreigners 

Municipality of Loulé has more than a fifth of the region's foreign students

Photo: Fabiana Saboya | Sul Informação (file)

20,1% of students enrolled in public schools in the Algarve are foreigners, a higher number than last school year, in which the percentage was 18,4.

According to Alexandre Lima, regional delegate of DGEstE, this is a percentage that has been increasing, year after year, and to which schools have always responded, «despite the difficulties».

Every day, students from 98 countries study in Algarve schools, in a total of 49 languages. Although it is sometimes difficult to integrate these students due to language difficulties, the regional Education delegate emphasizes that «all foreign students are integrated into the classes, but then they have additional reinforcement to be able to adapt more easily to the Portuguese language» .

In these cases, «the number of hours depends on the students' difficulties».

«The school, given the situation, identifies the student's needs and responds, and we have increased the number of Portuguese as a Non-Mother Language classes. All schools have these classes and this is one of the things that has worked very well and very quickly. Often, the biggest difficulty is finding available teachers, but in Portuguese, at the moment, we have not had any difficulties", he says.


Alexandre Lima, regional delegate of DGEstE – Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


As in the previous academic year, the municipality of Loulé continues to be the one with the highest number of foreign students in the entire region, concentrating more than a fifth of students from other countries (21,2%) who attend Algarve schools . In contrast, Alcoutim has only 0,09% of foreigners in regional schools.

As for School Groups (AE), D. Dinis, in Quarteira, has the highest percentage, as 39% of its students are foreigners.

The AE of Albufeira, which, in 2022/2023, was at the top of the list, is now in second place, with 34,4%, followed by the AE Dr. Laura Ayres, also in Quarteira (33,7%), of AE Professora Piedade Matosos, in Aljezur (33,2%), and AE in Vila do Bispo, with a percentage of 32,7.

In contrast, the school groups in Castro Marim (6,1%), João de Deus, in Faro (9,1%), D. José I, Vila Real de Santo António (9,3), Paula Nogueira, Olhão, (9,6%) and Alcoutim (10,6%) are the five with the lowest presence of students of other nationalities.

In an interview with Sul Informação, Alexandre Lima also made a point of denying the fears of Portuguese parents regarding this wave of students coming from abroad.

«There are some guardians who get a little upset when they can't find a place for their child at school x or y because they think we give priority to foreign students, but that doesn't happen. For us, students are all equal. When they are here and are in compulsory schooling, they have to be placed, without any type of restriction", emphasizes the Education delegate, admitting that there is, every school year, "a lot of effort from teachers", who are left with larger classes.

Albufeira, Loulé, Portimão and Faro These are, according to Alexandre Lima, the municipalities where there will be more classes than last year. However, it is up to each local authority to manage this.

In Portimão, from last school year to this one, there are at least 200 more students in schools, which will require the opening of at least five new rooms for pre-school and 1st cycle in a wing of the former School of Hospitality and Tourism, had already announced the mayor of this municipality.


Entrance to the wing of the former Portimão Hotel Management School now adapted – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


In Lagos, it has already been necessary to create at least two more 1st cycle classes and four secondary classes.

In the municipality of Loulé, where the number of students has also increased, a new school will open this school year and another, which was closed, will be reactivated in Quarteira.

Albufeira, which welcomes new students every month, also plans to open new rooms.

In an interview with Sul Informação, José Carlos Rolo, president of this municipality, states that the Municipality «has already had authorization from DGEstE to open six more Kindergarten rooms».

As for other levels of education, «which also need new rooms», expansions are planned for some schools, such as Francisco Cabrita and das Ferreiras.

Em Faro, is about to be born new Afonso III Basic School, which will be built on the premises of the EB 2,3 School, which already exists and has the same name.

Despite the school year having already started about a month ago, the Algarve regional Education delegate highlights that, every week, there are more foreign students to place, with Portimão being the municipality that has recorded the greatest increase in the number of students from other countries.

In January, when the school year ends in Brazil, a new wave of students is expected from that country. Some of the Municipal Councils are already making plans to welcome them.



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