Elections: What the parties propose for Education

PAN should only present its program on Saturday

After a year of protests in schools, the parties going to legislative elections on March 10 are seeking to respond to the sector's problems and some of the teachers' demands.

From teachers' service time to benchmarking tests and national exams, from education funding to the lack of teachers, very different proposals appear in the programs of parties with parliamentary seats (with the exception of PAN, which is only expected to present its program on Saturday). between some and practically identical between others.

Here are some essential points of the proposals for Education:


Recovery of service time and career progression 

The recovery of service time was one of the main demands of teachers in the last two years and is now included in the programs of all parties, with the exception of the Liberal Initiative (IL).

The PS promises to negotiate recovery with trade unions in a phased manner and the Democratic Alliance (a coalition that brings together PSD, CDS-PP and PPM) presents a more concrete proposal: annual recovery of 20% over six years, six months and 23 days , until the end of the legislature.

Chega also sets a maximum period of four years, while Livre only refers to “full and phased counting”. Bloco de Esquerda (BE) and CDU (coalition between the PCP and the Ecologist Party “Os Verdes”) also defend the recovery of all service time and career repositioning, without explaining whether the count will be immediate or phased.

Another of the teachers' demands is the elimination of the access vacancy to the 5th and 7th levels of the teaching career and only four parties respond to this request: Chega, BE, CDU and Livre.

Lack of teachers

The responses to the teacher shortage are diverse. The PS, on the one hand, wants to make the beginning of a teaching career more attractive, reducing precariousness and the difference between basic and time-based pay rates, and training more teachers, with incentive programs for higher education institutions.

The AD also proposes the review of the remuneration system, but also the incentive for teachers who have left the profession to return to teaching, through career repositioning bonus mechanisms, and the IRS deduction of accommodation expenses for teachers placed more than 70 km from your area of ​​residence.

Chega, BE and Livre also propose the granting of compensation to displaced teachers, but Chega's proposal only covers those placed more than 100 km away, a distance shortened to 60 km in the Livre program.

IL presents a short-term response to the lack of teachers, through the creation of a regime that allows the hiring of retired teachers until January 31, 2023, who will be able to accumulate their pension with a remuneration equivalent to the first step of hired teachers and proportional to the teaching time.

Competitions and hiring of teachers 

After, last year, the Government approved a new teacher management and recruitment regime, the PS now proposes to simplify the rules for the teacher placement competition.

AD defends a regime that takes into account other factors, such as residence and evaluation, and Livre wants “teachers not to be forced to accept a vacancy far from their area of ​​residence, under penalty of being penalized in future competitions”.

With a proposal that in the past received strong opposition, even leading the Government to back down, IL defends more autonomy for schools so that they can choose the human resources “that best fit the educational project they develop”.

Reorganization of basic and secondary education

All parties propose, in some way, to review the organization of basic and secondary education and curricula. The PS, on the one hand, points to scientific-humanistic courses, proposing to “expand the possibilities of organizing the study plan with a more robust common core and greater possibilities of options”.

The AD proposes a more structural change, through the integration of the 1st and 2nd cycles and, within the scope of the curricula, defends the review of essential learning with a view to a “curriculum centered on scientific and cultural knowledge” and the flexibility of Mandatory teaching loads in all cycles.

Without needing subjects, Chega intends to reduce school curricula and timetables and, on the other hand, make the Citizenship and Development subject optional.

For IL, financial literacy – currently included in the Citizenship and Development curriculum – must be reinforced, becoming a mandatory content in secondary education.

BE defends the review of the organization of cycles and the school calendar and, like the CDU, of the curricula.

Livre, in turn, wants to remove the subject of Moral and Religious Education from the curriculum of public schools and transform the 12th year into a year zero for entry into higher education or professional life.

National exams and assessment tests 

With the understanding that it is necessary to reinforce external assessment, AD proposes assessment tests in the 4th and 6th years in Portuguese, Mathematics and a third rotating subject every three years.

IL and Chega go further and defend the return of exams in the 4th and 6th years, eliminated in 2016 by the then socialist minister, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues.

On the contrary, on the left there is a consensus that there is already more evidence. Therefore, BE proposes that assessment tests be carried out on a sample basis, and not universally, and defends the end of the final tests in the 9th year.

The most radical proposal comes from the CDU, which wants the end of all final tests and exams, including in secondary education, and suggests a review of the assessment test regime, while Livre proposes “rethinking the mandatory carrying out of national exams” in 11th and 12th years.

After the Government changed, last year, the conditions for completing secondary education, maintaining the mandatory national exams, but with a lower weight in the final average, the PS does not present proposals for changes to external assessment.

Role of the Ministry of Education and financing 

Some electoral programs also make reference to the role of the Ministry of Education and the financing of the sector. The AD, for example, proposes that the guardianship should have the responsibilities of a regulator and not a decision-maker over the functioning of public schools.

Chega, in turn, suggests that it be renamed “Ministry of Education” and that “all ministerial bodies that are not absolutely fundamental to giving priority to the allocation of budgetary funds as directly as possible to students and schools” be extinguished. .

In the area of ​​financing, IL once again defends a paradigm shift: from school financing to per-student financing. The liberals' objective is to give families the freedom of choice, so that students can enroll in a school in the public, private or social sector, “knowing that they are equally subsidized by the State”.

Student accommodation 

In addition to Education, the parties also present proposals for Higher Education, where one of the main problems is the lack of accommodation. In this sense, the PS defends the expansion of support for student accommodation for displaced students, in addition to the implementation of the National Plan for Accommodation in Higher Education (PNAES), launched in 2018.

The AD proposes to increase direct investment in the construction and requalification of residences, also taking advantage of vacant State buildings, in addition to contracting with local authorities, social institutions and private investors for the construction of student accommodation and private student residences.

For IL, the answer involves increasing the speed of licensing and “creating logics of public-private partnerships in which private parties build and operate”, in addition to attributing a type of 'voucher' to scholarship students for “residences or informal housing /private/social”.

With the aim of increasing supply, BE proposes the conversion of public buildings that are not in use, protocols with the hotel and local accommodation sector for the provision of rooms at controlled prices and the “requisition of properties allocated to local accommodation or accommodation used for tourist purposes, prioritizing homes owned by owners with a large number of properties in local/tourist accommodation”.

The CDU proposes increasing the accommodation supplement for scholarships, as well as the construction, renovation and adaptation of public residences.

Livre defends the review of the PNAES, which should also provide targets for local authorities, higher education institutions, cooperative and private sectors, in addition to the conversion of public buildings and the reinforcement of budgetary allocation so that local authorities and universities can develop their own projects.

Fees and access to Higher Education 

With proposals that are not new, the CDU insists on the elimination of tuition fees, fees and emoluments for all academic degrees, while BE proposes setting a maximum ceiling for master's degrees and doctorates and Livre defends the end of tuition fees for degrees and in the academic part of master's degrees, as well as regulating the value of tuition fees for the year of dissertation or internship.

Chega, in turn, wants an end to tuition fees for students attending mandatory professional internships.

Still in Higher Education, but with regard to access, IL proposes that universities and polytechnics can introduce other criteria in addition to the average, such as aptitude tests, vocational tests, letters of motivation, letters of recommendation and student portfolios.