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by Cecilia Tomás, Universidade Aberta, Portugal


Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country on the Iberian Peninsula. Located in south-western Europe, Portugal is the westernmost country of mainland Europe and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are also part of Portugal.

Its population is nearly 10,600,000.

Its capital is Lisbon.

Further information

For further general information see Wikipedia: Portugal.

The land within the borders of the current Portuguese Republic has been continuously settled since prehistoric times. In the 8th century most of the Iberian Peninsula was conquered by Moorish invaders professing the Islam, which were later expelled by the Knights Templar. It was integrated into the Roman Republic and colonized by Germanic people (as Suevi and Visigoths) and in the seventh century the Moors conquest giving up. During the Christian reconquest it was formed the Portucalense county integrated, in the first on the Kingdom of Galicia and then on the Kingdom of León. In 1139 it was established the Kingdom of Portugal, whose independence was established in 1143. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Portugal expanded western influence as a result of pioneering the Age of Discovery, establishing an important empire with possessions in Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America, becoming the more important economic, political and military power to the worldwide. Its power lasted almost 600 years since the conquest of Ceuta until Macau transference to China in 1999, beginning here its international importance declination in the nineteenth century with the independence of Brazil (its largest colony). In 1910 the monarchy was overthrown and started the First Portuguese Republic which instability culminated in the imposition of an autocratic regime called New State (Estado Novo). Democracy was restored after the Portuguese Colonial War and the Carnation Revolution (Revolução dos Cravos) in 1974. In 1976 a Democratic Constitution was approved (main law that regulates the Portuguese Republic and all other laws) and set up the local political powers (municipalities) and autonomous regional governments of the Azores and Madeira. Although considered a developed country Portugal has a Human Development Index (HDI) very high, which has been declined in recent years (40 th place among 47 countries in 2010). Of note is the fact that both the health and the education systems are public. Considered one of the most globalized and peaceful nations of the World, Portugal was a founding member of the United Nations (UN), European Union (including the Eurozone and the Schengen Area), the Organization of the North Atlantic Treaty (NATO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP). In 1999 Portugal joined the Eurozone and in 2000 Portugal adopted the the euro (€) currency. The country is presently a democratic republic with a president (currently Aníbal Cavaco Silva) and a prime minister (currently Pedro Passos Coelho). [1] Portugal is nowadays going through a big economic and financial crisis. Statistically its population is 10,561,614, of which 547,631 live in Lisbon, the country's capital and largest city located in the South, and 237,584 in Porto, also known as Oporto. It has suffered an increase in the aging population in the last decade (about 19% of the population aged 65 or older) and an increase in the educational level of the population - 1,262,449 individuals college degree - (double the figure a decade ago)[2]

Education in Portugal

For a general description of education in Portugal see Education: Portugal.

Administrative Procedures

The education system in Portugal is regulated by the state through the Ministry of Education and Science (MEC) headed, currently, by Minister Nuno Crato. MEC has four secretaries of state: Higher Education, Science, Education and School Administration and of the Basic and Secondary School Education. The MEC defines, coordinates, implements and evaluates policies on education, from the 1st cycle to higher education, and is also responsible for the scientific qualification and professional training. According to Education MEC determines the future of the country and should generate equal opportunities for future generations, assuming education as a public service and upholding universal principles as the effort, discipline and autonomy. The quantitative increase in higher education should be complemented with a qualitative increase, allowing adjustment of supply to the needs by rationalizing the existing network of institutions and courses. MEC sets that science is an area where the country has given clear evidence of international competitiveness and the technology is now essentially from scientific origin, and science is the fundamental basis of scientific development. The careful investment in research and training of scientists and technical excellence is an essential pillar of national development. Regarding the evaluation MEC considers that students, teachers, institutions, courses, researchers and projects should be evaluated regularly.[3]

Education policy is the responsibility of:

  • the Ministry of Education and the Science (MEC), and all four secretaries - Higher Education, Science, Education and School Administration and the Basic and Secondary Education - at national level;
  • the Regional Directorates for Education at regional level;
  • the local authorities at local level (in the 1st cycle of basic education Municipalities are the authorities responsible for the operation of schools and placement of non-teaching staff).

In the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira, the administration of education is the responsibility of the regional governments, through the respective Regional Secretariat for Education, which adapt national education policy to a regional plan and manage human, material and financial resources. The MEC has to guarantee the compulsory schooling to prevent early school leaving and promote the qualification of the population in general from an equal opportunities, lifelong learning and educational innovation perspective. It is also responsible for the definition, promotion and implementation of education and vocational training policies, and takes part in the coordination of education and vocational training policies with national policies in the field of the promotion and dissemination of the Portuguese language, family support, social inclusion, the promotion of citizenship, environmental protection and health promotion. The ministry performs its responsibilities via direct administration services of the State (central and peripheral services), indirect administration, advisory bodies and other entities.[4] The central services of the Ministry of Education (Decree-Law no. n.º 125/2011 de 29 December) are the following:

  • General-Secretariat;
  • General Inspection for Education and science;
  • General Direction of Education;
  • General Direction of Higher Education;
  • General Direction of Scholar Administration;
  • General Direction of Education and Science Statistic;
  • General Direction of Planning and Financial Management;
  • Educational Assessment Office.

Under supervision and guardianship of the MEC are the following organizations:

  • Foundation for Science and Technology;
  • Lisbon University Stadium;
  • Scientific and Cultural Centre of Macau;
  • National Agency for Qualification and Vocational Education.

Advisory bodies of the MEC are:

  • National Council of Education;
  • Council of Schools;
  • Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

The body of indirect administration is the National Agency for Qualification(ANQ) that is under the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity. It is responsible for coordinating and boosting the provision of education and vocational training for young people and adults. Moreover it manages the Network for recognition, validation and certification of competences and coordinates the curriculum development and the methodologies and materials for specific interventions. At regional level, in the mainland, there are five Regional Boards for Education (DRE), which includes the peripheral services of direct administration by the State and has administrative autonomy. These are: the North Regional Direction of Education (DREN), the Centre Regional Direction of Education (DREC), the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Regional Direction of Education (DRELVT), the Alentejo Regional Direction of Education (DREALE), and the Algarve Regional Direction of Education (DREALG) integradas na Direção-Geral da Administração Escolar (DGAE)

The following are the General Direction of School Education (DGAE) main duties:

  • To coordinate, monitorize and support the organisation and the schools function and the management of their human and material resources, promoting the development and consolidation of their autonomy;
  • To take part in the planning of the school network;
  • To promote the gathering of necessary information for the formulation and implementation of education and training policies;
  • To make available to schools the guidelines from the central services and relevant technical information;
  • To cooperate with other services with a view to carrying out joint actions on education and vocational training, and to provide technical support to municipal initiatives involving school facilities;
  • To monitor the procedures concerning teaching quality control.

The school Autonomy: Decree-Law no. 75/2008 of 22 April approves the autonomy, administration and management of pre-school, basic and secondary education in public educational institutions. Autonomy is the power granted to schools by the educational authorities to take strategic, pedagogical, administrative, financial and organisational decisions within the scope of their educational project which, together with the internal school regulations and the annual plan of activities, constitute the process of school autonomy. The education project, which sets out the educational direction of the school, is drawn up and approved by the administration bodies for a period of three years and must define the principles, values, goals and strategies according to which the school proposes to fulfil its educational role. The internal regulation defines the system under which the school, or schools grouped, will operate (together with its administration and management bodies), the school direction, the educational support services and structures, as well as the rights and duties of the school community member.[5]

The municipal board of education coordinates education policy at municipal level, coordinating the actions of education players and social partners, and proposes adequate measures to promote greater efficiency and effectiveness in the educational system. At municipal level, the education chart is the instrument used for the planning and organisation of the education network, with the aim of improving education, teaching, training and culture, promoting schools grouped in a context of administrative decentralization, reinforcement of the management models, and enhancement of the role of educational communities and schools’ educational projects.

Regarding the financing the Ministry of Education funds its central and regional services, non-higher public education institutions as well as social school activity through the State budget. It also provides grants to private and cooperative education and vocational schools. Apart from the Ministry of Education, municipalities also take responsibility for the financing of education, including the construction, maintenance, supply and some operating expenses of pre-school and 1st cycle institutions. They are also responsible for ensuring the financing of school transports, complementary educational activities and free-time activities. The European Union also co-finances the education sector through the Human Potential Operational Programme (POPH) whose aim is to help reduce the qualifications deficit of the Portuguese population. The programme also seeks to encourage job creation and the quality of employment, supporting entrepreneurs as well as youngsters’ progression into working life. It is based on 10 axes covering areas such as Initial Qualification, Lifelong Learning, Professional Management and Improvement, Advanced Training, Citizenship and Social Development.[6] The Decree-Law n. º 137/2012 of July 2 introduces some changes to the previous one in particular with regard to strengthening school autonomy and greater efficiency required to be held, largely through the conclusion of agreements between the school, the Ministry of Education and other community partners, particularly in areas such as the differentiation of the educational offer, the transfer of skills in the curriculum organization, the creation of classes and human resources management. The Government defends the progressive strengthening of the autonomy, greater organizational and pedagogical flexibility of schools as essential conditions for improving the public education system comprising up the restructuring of the school network, increasing the number of schools with autonomy contracts, the hierarchy in management positions and the consolidation of a culture of evaluation.[7]

Basic and Secondary Education

In the '60s became general the idea of the need of having studies increasingly long and ambitious, although we lived in an authoritarian regime that thought school in a directive way that extended the scholarity for six years . In 1964 it was established The Center for the Study of Education Audiovisual, aiming an intense cultural dissemination through radio and television, but it was in the beginning of the following school year, in October 1965, that was formed School by TV broadcasting (Telescola)from the studios of Mount Virgin in Vila Nova de Gaia. Emissions from Telescola mark an important step in the life of Portuguese Television Radio (RTP) and especially in the panorama of education in Portugal, being a joint implementation between RTP and the Ministry of National Education. Knowing little of the culture that had then it was been installed televisions in the country, not only in schools but also in factories, houses and many other local where people, because of television was on assignment for the clarification of thought and individual freedom (http://www.rtp.pt/web/historiartp/1960/telescola.htm.). In post April 25 - 1974 - (time when Portuguese Democarcia has established) the preparatory education TV became one of the three branches of the 5th and 6th years of compulsory education.

In 1986 it was published the Law of the Education System that brings changes like making the school education universal, compulsory and free with a duration of nine years comprising three sequential cycles (the 7th, 8th and 9th grades shall become third cycle of this instruction preceded by the 5th and 6th grade that constitute the 2nd cycle and 1st cycle that consists in four years, and succeeded by 3 years - 10, 11 and 12 years - forming secondary education). In this law it's enshrined the right to education and culture for all children, ensuring the training of all young people for working life, the right to a fair and effective equal opportunities, freedom of learning and teaching as well as training of youth and adults who have left the system (recurrent education) and educational improvement of the entire population. The same act created a new organization of the educational system, which includes the pre-school education, school education and extracurricular education (covering activities in literacy, basic education and in the initiation and professional improvement ). The Education Act establishes a broad set of general principles, recognizing the right to education for all, equal opportunity seeking success and personal fulfillment of individuals. It also establishes a non denominational public education and the right to establish nonpublic schools (including private, cooperatives and religious). The law 85/2009 amends the regime of compulsory education setting it now in the 12th grade (or 18 years) for children and young people and devotes the universality of pre-school education for children as young as 5 years old.[8]. Below is a table illustrating the educational level adapted from Education: Portugal

School Year Age of enter School Stage
- 3 Jardim de Infância pre-school
- 4
- 5
1st year 6 1º Ciclo - 1st Cycle Ensino Básico
Basic Education
2nd year 7
3rd year 8
4th year 9
5th year 10 2º Ciclo - 2nd Cycle
6th year 11
7th year 12 3º Ciclo - 3rd Cycle
8th year 13
9th year 14
10th year 15 Ensino Secundário
Secondary Education
11th year 16
12th year 17

The XXI century is full of reforms and programs aimed at improving the primary and secondary education system:

  • In 2001 came the reorganization of basic education curriculum, as well as the creation of Recognition, Validation and Certification of Competencies (RVCC) - Member States, the Commission, the EEA-EFTA and accession countries and the social partners at European level, following the Copenhagen Declaration, the resolution of the Council considered that the identification and validation of non-formal and informal serve the needs of the learner. They support social integration, employability and the development and utilization of human resources in civic, social and economic context. They also meet the specific needs of individuals who seek integration or (re)integrate into the education and training, in labor market and in society[9] -;
  • In 2004 there was a new Reform of Secondary Education;
  • In 2005 the principle of school at full time in the 1st cycle establishes itself and English becomes an integrated subject in this cycle of education
  • In 2006/2007 was released other Extra Curricular Activities - AECs - and also appears the initiative "New Opportunities" which aims to extend the minimum training reference to 12th grade whose strategy rests on two pillars. It is also integrated in this year in the 1st cycle and in the Secondary education level the National Reading Plan [10] (in a phased manner- 1st phase from 2007 to 2011; 2nd phase from 2012[11]
  • In 2007 arises the Technological Plan for Education (PTE) which emerged as the largest program of technological modernization of Portuguese schools and it was intended to interconnect an integrated manner and an effort in the technological infra-structure of schools, in providing content and services online and in strengthening ICT skills of students and teachers. With the ambition to put Portugal among the five most advanced European countries in terms of technological modernization of schools by 2010, PTE has emerged as an opportunity to transform Portuguese schools into interactivity spaces and sharing without obstacles, preparing new generations for the challenge of the knowledge society[12].

Projects and Programs

There are several initiatives in Portugal in relation to projects and programs of basic and secondary education, but only the most importants will be briefly analyzed taking into account their aims and objectives so to highlight which are the main innovation trends.

  • National Reading Plan (PNL): this is an initiative in action since 2007 that has as its central objective to raise literacy levels of the Portuguese and put Portugal alongside of European partners. It is an initiative of the Government, from MEC responsibility, in coordination with the Ministry of Culture and the Office of the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, being taken as a political priority. It aims to create conditions for the Portuguese reach reading levels where they feel fully able to deal with the written word in any circumstance of life, can interpret the information provided by the media, access to knowledge of science and enjoy the great works of literature.[13]
  • Experimental Science in Secondary Education: this project demands the implementation of new sciences teaching and has produced some publicationsand materials.
  • Science Olympiad European Union (EUSO)
  • Project Electron SCHOOL: this project is an initiative of Amb3E (Portuguese Association of Waste Management of Electronic Equipment), supported by the General Direction for Innovation and Curriculum Development and the Portuguese Environment Agency. It aims to sensitize students, the school community and the surrounding community for the correct routing Waste Electrical and Electronic (WEEE, REEE in portuguese), by combined effect of dissemination actions and the involvement in a competition among schools.[14]
  • Common European Framework of Reference for Languages​​: Learning, teaching, assessment: The CEFR, QECR in portuguese, 2001, is a document of the European Board, prepared under the Project "Linguistic Policies for a Plurilingual and Multicultural Europe". Besides presenting the political context and educational conception of the document, it defines guidelines and the methodological approach adopted. The CEFR defines six common reference levels for three major types of user: the basic user, the independent user and proficient user.[15]

Technological Plan for Education (PTE): Since 2005 there has been a national strategy to modernise Portuguese schools technologically and the Government has made this one of its main goals. The Technological Plan for Education – PTE - intends to place Portugal among the five most advanced European countries in terms of school’s technological modernization (see the section below on ICT initiatives in Education).[16]

  • BloguesEDU: for further general information see the OER Initiatives in Portugal
  • Learn and innovate with ICT: The initiative "Learn and Innovate with ICT" aims to promote the educational use of ICT to improve student learning through the profitability of the equipment available in schools. The initiative will support innovative projects that promote the educational use of ICT and its use in favor Primary School level, the use of learning management platforms for the educational community and the production and sharing of digital educational resources.[17]
  • eTwinning is a collaborative project between schools in Europe, a relevant initiative within the lifelong learning programme of the European Union. It promotes the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in schools. Teachers and students use the Internet to work together across borders cooperation, exchange information and share teaching materials.[18]
  • Tell us a story: promoted under the Technological Plan for Education (PTE), through the General Directory for Innovation and Curriculum Development (DGIDC in portuguese), of the Office of School Libraries Network (EBN or RBE in portuguese) and the National Reading Plan (NLP, PNL in portuguese). 'Tell us a history 'aims to promote the implementation of projects developed by Pre-school and the 1st cycle to encourage the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), including recording digital audio and video.[19]
  • Seguranet: this project comes under the Safer Internet Plus Programme and Network Insafe to promote Internet safety in portuguese schools, from the 1st cycle to secondary education under the slogan "You Decide for Where You'll".[20] For further general information see the OER Initiatives in Portugal
  • Webinars: for further general information see the OER Initiatives in Portugal
  • eduSCRATCH: for further general information see the OER Initiatives in Portugal
  • eLAB: The project eLab is an online laboratory (remote access), developed in partnership with the Instituto Superior Técnico, which allows control of experiences in the areas of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The goal is to promote the improvement of science teaching and the motivation of young people in this area. The eLab is intended to be another tool to serve the educational community, contributing to the reinforcement of activities from scientific experimentation
  • GeoRed: for further general information see the OER Initiatives in Portugal
  • PING: This is an online game that has the objective to act as a starting point to discuss the theme of "Poverty" and what it means to be poor. PING is aimed at students of the 3rd cycle of basic education and secondary education. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and DGIDC established a protocol to disseminate the use of this game in Portuguese schools.
  • ITEC - Innovative Technologies for an Engaging Classroom: the project brings together policy makers, researchers, technology providers, other experts in advanced technology learning and innovative teachers in order to design, build and test scenarios in a comprehensive teaching and learning environment in the classroom of the future.
  • inGenious: The ingenious project aims to establish an European group of coordination (European Coordinating Body) made of partnership schools / businesses in the areas of Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST). The goal is, initially, the characterization of good practice in collaboration between schools and businesses.
  • CPDLab: CPDLab, Continuing Professional Development Laboratory is a 3 year project, which began in October 2011 with the goal of promoting lifelong training available for teachers, principals and other education professionals in the field of Information Technologies and Communication. It intends to support schools to transform themselves into effective learning environments by providing a portfolio of training courses focused on the needs of teachers in the classroom of the future and focusing on areas such as interactive whiteboards, Internet security and innovative learning scenarios.

There are a range of projects proposed by the Ministry of Education of Portugal for basic and secondary education, many of which are OER initiatives or intend to encourage open and free sharing of education resources.

Higher Education

Above the school education comes higher education which can be:

  • integrated in public - maintained by the State, including institutions of higher education university, higher education public polytechnic and higher education military and policial;
  • private - including proven educational institutions and cooperative maintained by private companies or cooperative education and institutions of higher education concordat maintained by the Catholic Church.

Higher Education is one of the components of school education beyond basic and secondary education and comprise university and polytechnic education.

University education is driven by a constant perspective of research and knowledge creation, in order to ensure solid scientific and cultural preparation, provide technical training to the exercise of professional activities, promotes the culture and design capabilities of innovation and critical analysis (this education takes place in universities and university colleges or other university schools not integrated).

Polytechnic education is directed by a constant perspective applied to research and development directed to the understanding and solving specific problems, seeking to provide a solid cultural education; with technical level develops the capacity of innovation and critical analysis and scientific knowledge of theoretical and practical nature and its applications in order to pursue professional activities. Polytechnic education takes place in universities or in other polytechnic schools - who may join in polytechnic institutes or become integrated into universities.

The university offers degrees that with the adjustment to the Bologna Declaration, are degree courses: 1st cycle of higher education (with a duration of three years. Degree conferred by the university and polytechnic.), master's degree (courses from the 2nd cycle of higher education, usually lasting two years, conducted after the completion of a 1st cycle course. Alternatively, there are Master courses integrated in the normal period of five years, degree granted by university and polytechnic). The PhD level is the 3rd cycle studies in higher education, (after obtaining the master's degree and this degree is only given by the university).

Besides these course degrees institutions of higher education also teach confer other academic degrees and teach courses (see here) such as: technological specialization courses (CET in portuguese); postgraduate specialization courses; complementary training courses in nursing; complementary courses to scientific and pedagogical training for teachers and educators; qualification courses for the exercise of other educational functions ; in elearning courses and distance learning (in which the Open University stands as priority in this area).[23]

Projects and Programs

The Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT in portuguese) has the mission to promote the continued advancement of scientific and technological knowledge in Portugal. It aims to explore opportunities that become available in all fields of science and technology to achieve the highest international standards of knowledge creation; still looking to stimulate their diffusion and contribution towards the improvement of education, health and the environment, quality life and welfare of the general public. Therefore their investments in Research and Development (R & D) are significant including through the funding provision based in merit proposed through institutions, open research teams and individual presentations, and also through cooperative arrangements and other forms of support in partnership with universities and other public and private institutions in Portugal and abroad.

Portuguese universities also integrate several international partnerships programmes and international conventions or agreements in higher education such as [24]:

  • Portugal is a signatory of the Bologna process and therefore belongs to the European Higher Education Area.
  • Portugal is an active member of Socrates programme and Erasmus programme exchange scheme.
  • The Lisbon MBA, an International MBA program is offered by two leading Portuguese universities (UNL and UCP) in colloboration with the MIT Sloan School of Management gained lot of attention among the international students and received positive feedback.
  • Harvard Medical School-Portugal, a program that facilitates new translational and clinical research. It will launch and streamline post-graduate medical training, and produce and publish quality medical and health information in Portugal.


Prior to 1988 (the year when the Portuguese Open University - Universidade Arberta (UAB) began) distance learning had only been used in the Telescola initiative (TV live broadcasting of classroom lessons supported by paper-based materials) and the propaedeutic year (a similar attempted but using prerecorded video lectures). Apart from these public initiatives there were correspondence training courses being offered by private companies for vocational training purposes.

The Telescola initiative was inspirational since it led to creation in 1964 of the IMAVE (Institute of Audiovisual Teaching) by the Ministry of Education. This institute, later to be partly merged into the new Open University, produced educational programs for radio and television broadcasting as well as to be used as support pedagogical materials in classrooms throughout the country. In 1988, when the Open University was formally established after a long period of development, a new distance learning model was finally implemented. This followed the best practices in Europe in the late 80s. In fact, it was a paper-based model with an important part of multimedia. Learning was based on textbooks produced by external experts which also authored a set of video lectures or video material based on the major topics of the unit. Additional multimedia materials were offered as a support and tutoring was mass-oriented and carried out by phone and mail. Materials were design for autonomous learning. TV and Radio broadcastings were subsequently taped into cassettes to allow for asynchronous study. In 2006, UAb Rector Carlos Reis nominated a specific Pro-rector in Innovation in Distance Education which was responsible for the design and implementation of a radical and unique innovation strategy that led to the rapid transition from a print-based to a fully online university in just three years. This coincided with the adjustment of the Portuguese higher education system to the Bologna model. The complex and innovative strategy included many important results, one of which was the adoption of the first Virtual Pedagogical Model of Open University[25]. The Open University is now preparing to further develop this model, by integrating the extended use of open educational resources social media, learning analytics and m-learning. Following the development of e-learning and especially after the successful move of the Open University into virtual education, most of the public and private higher education institutions in Portugal have started implementing forms of e-learning and b-learning. Universities operate this system of education through the use of virtual learning platforms like Moodle or Blackboard and it must be pointed out the fact that all of them have an LMS. The same occurs in primary and secondary education in Portugal since, every school from 5th to 12th grade owns a learning platform, Moodle. This platform is used as a means of communication to the school community and a workplace for students and teachers. Some of the important learning platforms in the education system are:

  • The Virtual School is an e-learning platform owned by the publishing group Porto Editora, a Portuguese private company. In the EV program the disciplines from 1st to 12th school year is transformed into interactive lessons where text, animations, videos, phrases and exercises are combined and make learning simple and effective. EV works with two different options: - Particular - service subscribed by students, teachers and parents who are individually self-study learners. - Institutional - the EV operates as a service to the school and all content can be used by teachers and students in their classrooms.[26]
  • Mobile School now called Distance Learning for Itinerancy has emerged as a project of distance learning, using a technology platform (LMS Moodle) to support learning for students of the 3rd cycle of basic education whose parents are travellers for job reasons in order to meet the specific needs of this community in terms of basic education. The curriculum of the Mobile School was initially constituted by the disciplines that make up the National Curriculum for Basic Education 3rd Cycle, with the exception of Physical Education. The Mobile School project was extending its educational provision and implementation of distance education, providing the integration of different public in the obligatory school levels, with the possibility of continuing studies in secondary education. In addition to the children of travelling families and students, this project was expanded to include other children and youth who are at risk of failure, early school leaving and social exclusion, especially young people supported by the institution Help young Mother and students over 15 years, who for several reasons had not completed compulsory education. The work aimed to provide differentiated learning contexts and individualized tutoring in conjunction with each educational area. The project is now called Distance Learning Project for Itinerant Students and it is now based on the partnership with a physical school (but they are going to be more than one in the future) which hosts the virtual school in its premises and offer its organizational and financial infrastructures. [27]

Quality procedures

Basic and Secondary Education

In pre-school, basic and secondary school, the assessment system focuses on the performance of students, teachers and schools. The self-evaluation, internal, external and international evaluation complement each other and allow monitoring the work of the agents of the education system.

In school education, finals cycle and national tests assess knowledge and skills acquired by students. They are also a quality indicator for schools to adjust curriculum and the implementation or adaptation of educational projects, thereby improving system quality. The evidence should be reliable and comparable from year to year for this analysis is as accurate as possible. [28]

School inspection is an autonomous activity, and the body responsible for assessing the quality of the education system is the General Inspector of Education and Science (IGEC). It looks at the administrative/financial level and pedagogical level and produces reports on the situation and also made the external evaluation of all school levels.

Another department, GEPE (Education Planning and Statistics Office), is in charge of the educational statistics; it collects data every year on many issues. One of the statistical tools focuses specifically on ICT – equipment, infrastructure, connectivity, software, and online services. With the cooperation of Higher Education institutions an Observatory for the Technological Plan for Education has also been created. The last major survey on ICT in school Portugal in the last 12 months was a diagnostic study of the technological modernisation of the school system in Portugal (Estudo de Diagnóstico: a modernização tecnológica do sistema de ensino em Portugal).[29]

The Office of Educational Assessment (GAVE) has the mission to perform within the framework of pedagogical and didactic education system, functions of planning, coordination, development, validation, application and control instruments for the external assessment of learning.

Regarding the training of teachers to the Council of Scientific-pedagogical training(integrated into the University of Minho) under Legal Regime of Continuous Teacher Training, competes the accreditation of training providers and further training of teachers and monitor the evaluation process in the continuous training system. It is also responsible for accreditation of specialized training courses.

Higher Education

Evaluation in Higher Education takes place in three dimensions. Through its autonomy these institutions guide the assessment of students and teachers in a decentralized way. The quality of the courses is assessed by the Agency for Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education (A3ES), an independent entity. The rigor and requirements are the basis of this process. Some institutions also hire international ratings that allow them to measure the quality of their work according to world standards. Science is an area that has strengthened its credibility before the international community in recent years and evaluating the work of the researcher is a constant effort, which happens through the publication of articles in top international journals, the measurement of the impact of their work and other traditional variables already in the scientific community. In addition to peer review, the Ministry of Education and Science promotes quality assessment of projects, institutions and scholarships through the Foundation for Science and Technology(FCT).[30]

A major review of the accreditation and quality assurance practices of Portuguese higher education is being performed by an international review committee formed through the European Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, ENQA, following a request made by the Government in November 2005. The review committee provides advice on the current legal framework supporting accreditation and quality assurance methodologies, as well as on appropriate structures for implementing a national accreditation and evaluation agency following current best quality assurance and accreditation practices in Europe.[31] Law 38/2007 of 16 August sets out the legal framework for the evaluation of higher education institutions and study programmes. As reported in Higher education in Portugal - IHEM Country report, quality assurance of higher education in Portugal has been based on the Higher Education Evaluation Act 1994. This act was closely developed in cooperation with the Conference of Rectors of Public Universities (CRUP) and forms the backbone of what is widely termed “the contractual model”. The act resulted in the establishment of CNAVES as a national agency for quality assurance of higher education. The act was highly inspired by the Dutch model and retains many characteristics from this, including, above all, placing responsibility for the quality assurance system with an organisation representing the institutions of higher education. The contractual model, which reflects the large extent of institutional representation through the representative entities and evaluation councils, has created a strong sense of ownership and commitment to the quality assurance processes, which would otherwise have been extremely difficult to achieve. The model was fit for purpose at the time of its establishment, but was from the early days also associated with a number of weaknesses, which are analysed in this review. Ten years of CNAVES’s evaluations have, however, also accumulated a number of positive experiences that should be considered carried over into a new quality assurance system.[32]

The Portuguese state created Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education (A3ES) a private law foundation, by means of Decree-Law no. 369/2007, on 5th November, aiming the promotion and ensure the quality of higher education. The Agency is a private law foundation, established for an indeterminate period of time, with legal status and recognised as having public utility. The Agency is independent in its decisions, without prejudice of the guidelines fixed by the State. Its web site is: http://www.a3es.pt [33]

Foundation for Science and Technology(FCT) in http://www.fct.pt/: because of its social responsibility to distribute public funds in order to generate trust, fair, objective appropriation, effectiveness, efficiency, impartiality and transparence FCT improves methods of recognition and promotion of research with relevant potential and scientific merit. As a principle and practice, the FCT selects applications for funding of Research and Development (R&D) by recourse to peer review. Not being this form of assessment without difficulties, however it is consensually accepted as the bedrock on which is anchoring the allocation of subsidies to scientific activity.[34]

Internet in Portugal

For further general information see Wikipedia: Internet in Portugal.

The University of Lisbon was the first organization in Portugal to have an Internet connection (early 90s). Shortly after, the University of Minho also made ​​use of a 64Kb line (Telepac, IP over X.25) for France. In 1990, the PUUG (Portuguese Unix Users Group) began selling Internet connections in Portugal. In 1992 FCCN started into domain registrations. The first web server was activated by national LNEC (National Laboratory of Civil Engineering) in 1992. In 1993 the Internet access was open to students from the University of Minho. In 1996 there were 10 entities licensed to provide Telecommunications Services Fixed Complementary, within which it can frame the Internet access.[35]

The Operational Programme for the Information Society fits into the policy that is being implemented by the Portuguese Government for boosting information society and knowledge in Portugal; it was launched in March 1996 with the National Initiative for the Information Society and the establishment by the Council of Ministers of the Mission for the Information Society . In April 1997 the Green Paper for the Information Societ was approved. This is a strategic document defining the main guidelines and areas of intervention needed to implement sustainable information society and knowledge in Portugal. For the first time in the portuguese history issues relating to the Information Society began to appear in the planning instruments, in guidance documents, produced by advisory bodies (such as the Economic and Social Council and the National Council of Education) and in the instruments of social dialogue. In the Green Paper for the Information Society the major lines of action are: Ensuring the democratic Society Information; Advancing strategic and selective action of the State; Expand and Improve Know and Available forms of Learning; Organizing the Transition to Digital Economy; promote Research and Development in the Information Society; Ensure forms of legal regulation of the democratic process transition. Following the adoption of the Green Paper for the Information Society in Portugal, the different measures recommended were structured in the following action plans[36]:

  • The Network Science, Technology and Society (RCTS) backed up the strengthening of the connection network of universities, polytechnics and institutes of R & D, which has become the "backbone" of national RCTS. The bandwidth of the access network of related institutions was drastically increased. The network allows the increasing development of communication between the scientific communities.[37]
  • The Internet in Schools Program, an initiative of the Ministry of Science and Technology, completed the Internet connection of all schools from 5th to 12th grade, public and private, with the installation of multimedia computers in libraries / media libraries from schools through the RCTS. Since 1998, the groundwork was done for expansion phased to schools of the 1st cycle (Stage 2 of the program), to be held in collaboration with promoters, including local authorities, as well as to include in the program the Centers for Teacher Training. This program was developed by the Support Unit Network Educational Telematics (UARTE), in collaboration with the Foundation for National Scientific Computing (FCCN)and in conjunction with other agencies, including Regional Governments, Associations of Municipalities and Municipalities. The progressive Internet connection of all primary schools complete this process and puts Portugal in a place of foreground in the European context.[38]
  • Computer To All initiative aimed to encourage the generalized use of electronic means. The objective is to encourage the mass use of computers at home connected to the Internet.[39]
  • Digital cities was released in 1998 and is an articulated set of projects in the area of ​​Information Society focused initially on pre-selected cities and now open to all cities. It is about demonstration projects whose applications have as objectives the improvement of urban life, the fight against social exclusion, improving the competitiveness of economic sectors integrated into the global economy. This is a development program that should be extended to all cities of the country, since the use of digital technologies for information and telecommunications can contribute to improving the quality of urban life and to strengthen the economic competitiveness and employment at the level of individual regions. [40]
  • The National Initiative for e-Commerce (preceded by a guiding document: Resolution of the Council of Ministers N.º 115/98) has the aim to create legislative and regulatory bases for the new economy, through a legislative and regulatory framework able to promote the full development and expansion of electronic commerce (including defining the legal regime applicable to electronic documents and digital signatures, as well as electronic bill).
  • The National Initiative for Citizens with Disabilities was approved by Resolution of the Council of Ministers n.º 96/99 of August 26, in order to help citizens with special needs, including those with physical and mental disabilities, the elderly and the long-term bedridden patients, so that they can fully enjoy the benefits that new information and communication technologies can provide them as a factor of social integration and improve their quality of life.[41]

The Operational Programme Information Society seeks [42]:

  • Promot the widespread use of the Internet;
  • Create conditions for the massive supply of products adapted to the family market to multiply by four the number of computers with Internet access available in portuguese homes;
  • Create public areas with Internet access in all parishes of the country and widespread availability and use of e-mail by the portuguese population (over a million in less than three years);
  • Generalize to all schools from the 1st cycle of Basic Education the Network RCTS (which already provides full coverage of all the other schools and municipal public libraries)and to all cultural and scientific associations, able to charge for users and to support the production and exploitation of contents;
  • Extend the Digital Cities program to the whole country;
  • Adopt and implement a program that leads the portuguese content multiplication on the Internet;
  • Launch a national process of training and certification of basic competencies in information technology, associate diploma of basic skills information technology to the completion of compulsory schooling;
  • E-government: create conditions for the spread of information systems in public administration;
  • Reduce drastically the use of paper as a medium of information by the Public Administration by generalising digital media for communication or file;
  • Promote the availability over the Internet of all information published by public bodies;
  • Walking as quickly as possible to a situation where at least 25% of transactions are carried out in the state of e-commerce modes;
  • Launch the first National Plan of 'motorways of Information', stimulating offer, interconnection, operation and regulation of broadband networks;
  • Launch a program of research and development in the areas of society information;
  • Launch a program of Research, Development and Demonstration in the processing of the Portuguese language in computer.

The Portuguese Government Program for 2005-2009 established a Technological Plan as the keystone of the Government’s economic policy. The intentions of this plan were to:

  • Mobilize Portugal to fully participate in the information society;
  • Give a new impetus to enterprise innovation;
  • Overcome the scientific and technological lag;
  • Qualify human resources.

In particular the Technological Plan is an action agenda for the whole of Portuguese society, which aims at mobilising enterprises, families and institutions to meet the modernisation challenges the country has been facing during the last years As a strategy to promote the development and reinforcing growth and competitiveness in Portugal, the Technological Plan is based on three axes:

Knowledge - To qualify the Portuguese for the knowledge society, fostering structural measures which aim at enhancing the average qualification level of the population, implementing a broad and diversified lifelong learning system and mobilising the Portuguese for the Information Society.
Technology - To overcome the scientific and technological gap, reinforcing public and private scientific and technological competences and recognising the role played by enterprises in the process of creation of qualified jobs and Research & Development (R&D) related activities.
Innovation – To boost innovation, helping the productive chain to adapt to the challenges of globalisation by means of the diffusion and development of new procedures, organizational systems, services and goods.

Besides, the Government launched the Connecting Portugal programme at the end of July 2005 as an action plan to implement the Information Society component of the Technological Plan. The Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC in portuguese) is the Portuguese public agency with the mission of coordinating information society policy and its mobilization through qualification awareness and research activities, promoting the technological development and knowledge creation by the scientific and technological system and enterprises, and fostering the development of e-Science.

As said in A Internet em Portugal - 2012, Internet access in Portugal continues to grow in aggregates household (from 51.2% in 2010 to 57.0% in 2011). The broadband is the main driver of this process (cable, 38.6% of ADSL and respondents, with 29.7%) and the fiber structure was a residual penetration (7.7% of respondents).

In terms of access, the Portugueses are not yet mobile internet user "par excellence". Notice that only mobile broadband (USB) achieves significant percentages (25.4% of respondents). Broadband in tablet and smartphone access types represent residual percentage in Portugal (both residual percentages) because of its price and the cost of the access. The use of the Internet is being a practice closely related to the literacy levels of each user and is strongly related to the age and schooling of the respondents: the use of Internet decreases as age increases and schooling decreases. Internet is primarily a means of information and consultation, more than an operative instrument. For example, the Portuguese used the Internet to search for information about products and read reviews on goods, which help them to choose, but do not prefer the Internet to purchase the products on which they seek information. They are also fans of social networks, especially Facebook (97.3% of who use social networks have created profile on this network), and Instant Messaging programs, a central software to their relationship with the family and especially with friends. [43]

Internet in Education

The initial proposal to Portugal use computers in education systems it was a recommendation given by "Carmona Report " (1985), which directed the implementation of Project MINERVA (Computer Methods in Education: Rationalize, Value, Update or Meios Informáticos Na Educação: Racionalizar, Valorizar, Atualizar) and guided the introduction of the discipline of Educational Technology in the curriculum of initial and in-service teachers education.[44] The MINERVA project was launched in 1985 and was a project of the Portuguese Ministry of Education, managed by the Office of Research and Planning and the Department of Planning and Financial Management. Its purpose was the introduction of Information Technology and Communication, commonly known as "ICT" in primary schools and secondary schools. The name of the project comes from the acronym for Meios Informáticos Na Educação: Racionalizar, Valorizar, Atualizar or Computer Methods in Teaching Rationalization Valuation Update, and António Dias Figueiredo has been his mentor and chief proponent, having coordinated nationally the same project during its pilot phase, between October 1985 and October 1988. The implementation of the MINERVA project was carried out in the areas of teacher training and trainers, in the exploration and development of materials (including documentation and educational software), research, direct support to the work of teachers in schools, and the creation of conditions for logistics installation and use of these means (including through the establishment of Support Centres and Local Centres School MINERVA), with the ultimate goal to renewing educational system. The telematics education is what has enrolled more than half of the poles of the MINERVA project since 1989/90, by investing in research components, training and development activities / telematics projects, in order to maintain the connection and cohesion between schools, strengthen their capacity for mutual support, facilitate the launch and development of other educational projects and contribute to the construction and deployment of resources shared by all.

When the MINERVA project reached the "terminus", the group EDUCOM felt the need to find a way to continue advancing in this area, creating the EDUCOM - Associação Nacional de Telemática Educativa or National Association of Educational Telematics [45].

The activity of EDUCOM relates both to the training of teachers in ICT as well as to the Competence Centre EDUCOM that aims to support the creation and implementation of educational projects for schools. It also offers online publication of the Journal Education, Training & Technology which is a scientific publication aimed at disseminating research and reflection related to the use and integration of Information and Communication Technologies in Education and Training.

The TRENDS project was started in 2006 financed by the Programme TELEMATIC APPLICATIONS da DGXIII European Community which had as its primary goal the training of 2400 teachers of the 2nd and 3rd cycles of Basic and Secondary Education in the use of Information Technology and Communication in six different countries: Portugal, Spain, Italy , Greece, France and the UK. In each of these countries there was a national pilot. The interconnection of these six drivers want to be the embryo of a future European Network for Open and Distance Education.

The Nónio-Século XXI project was started in 1996 and ending in late 2002 - was designed for the production, application and widespread use of information and communication technologies in education, aiming in particular at(Despacho Nº 232/ME/96]): improving conditions in running the school and the success of teaching-learning, the quality of management and modernization of the education system, the development of the domestic market creation and editing software for education with pedagogical-didactic purposes and management; the contribution of education to the development of an information society more reflective and participatory.

Started in 1997 and finished in 2003, the project Uarte (Unidade de Apoio à Rede Telemática Educativa) - Internet in School was intended to ensure the installation of a multimedia computer and the Internet connection in the library / media center of each school in basic and secondary education. FCCN - the Foundation for National Scientific Computing - greatly contributed to this project, developing the technological infrastructure that supported all these connections through the "Network Science, Technology and Society."

The Rede de Professores Inovadores (the Innovative Teachers Network) project was started in 2004 and allowed the global community of teachers to be in constant communication and share resources and tools to maximize learning through the use of new technologies.

2005 was the year that started the following projects of relief:

  • The EDUTIC project was a unit of the Ministry of Education created by GIASE (Office of Information and Educational Assessment System)to continuing the work of the Program Nónio XXI century.
  • The Mission Team Computers, Networks and the Internet at school, called CRIE project that had as main objective the installation of Computers, Networks and Internet at school(replaces the draft EDUTIC). Its mission involves designing, development, implementation and evaluation of initiatives in the field of mobilizing and integrating the use computers and internet networks in schools and in the teaching-learning process.
  • The draft Connecting Portugal - a program of action integrated in the Technological Plan for Education of the XVII Government of Portugal - it had as goal to connect all schools to broadband[46] [47]

In January 2006 all public schools from 1st to 12th grade were connected to broadband Internet, with the exception of a small number who were going to crash in the summer of 2006. A year earlier only 18% were connected to broadband.[48]

In 2007[49] The Technological Plan for Education (PTE) intends to place Portugal among the five most advanced European countries in terms of school’s technological modernisation. The main areas of intervention of the PTE are Technology, Contents and teacher Training. These areas integrate in a transversal way every domain related to the modernisation of the Portuguese school system. Within the PTE several initiatives have been launched, including:

  • High-speed broadband Internet – to ensure high-speed broadband Internet access among schools;
  • Internet in the classroom / local area networks – to ensure Internet access in all classrooms and all school spaces;
  • Programme e.escola 2.0 – following the previous programme (e-escola) this new programme, designed to meet the Digital Agenda's objectives, focus on three main aims: to guarantee the continuity of access to laptops and Internet connection, with special conditions for the educational community; to promote the creation and use of digital content; to foster the use of next-generation networks.
    • e-escolinha – to provide access to a laptop with learning resources to students of first cycle schools;
  • Technological kit – increased the number of IT equipments in the classroom to promote the interactivity and innovation of the pedagogical practices;
  • School safety – to increase the safety of assets in schools against theft and vandalism;
  • Schools portal – reference site of schools in Portugal for sharing digital learning resources, e-learning, communication, collaborative work and access to support services for school administration;
  • Simplex school – information system based on an electronic platform and on a service-oriented infrastructure that allows a simplification of the school management;
  • ICT competencies training and certification – modular, sequential and disciplinary oriented training program and certification of ICT skills;

PTE has two other projects created with the aim to promote partnerships between educational institutions and enterprises, namely:

  • ICT internships – workplace training for vocational education students at top national and international technological companies;
  • ICT academies – creation of ICT academies from technological companies in schools, aiming to reinforce student’s qualifications and their entry in the job market.

As mentioned above, one of the main areas of intervention is training. The legal guidelines concerning teacher training and certification on ICT competences were compiled are in Portaria 731/2009, 7th July and defines the ICT competences and associated certification system for teachers from all school levels. This system is organised in three levels in accordance with the principles of strengthening, diversification and progressive enlargement of acquired skills and its professional context use. Training of teacher trainers is addressed in three dimensions:

  • Internet safety: this is a central issue as well as a good starting point to address several uses of ICT in school, and even beyond school. Internet safety is a starting point to develop a number of skills necessary for the profile of the 21st century teacher (around 360 teacher trainers have attended courses).
  • The pedagogical use of interactive white boards (IWB): a large number of courses addressing the specific uses of IWB have taken place all over the country. The aim was to see the IWB as a tool that can bring motivation but above all allows new methodological approaches to the learning and teaching processes (around 500 teacher trainers attended the courses).[50] Later they were replaced by Interactive Multimedia Paintings(QIM in portuguese) in 2007 - 2008, tried to cover with its implementation training as many teachers as possible (such as training stopped for lack of funds to finance the same).
  • ePortfolios: following a recommendation from the Ministry of Education for the use of eportfolios for students in compulsory education, a training of teacher trainers took place addressing a specific tool (REPE) and the pedagogical use of eportfolios.[51]

Copyright law in Portugal

In Portugal the Copyright provisions are[52]:

  • Copyright and Related Rights Code (Decree-Law 63/85, as amended by Law 16/2008); regulations regarding copyright duration (Decree-Law 334/97); regulations governing compensation for reproducing or recording (Law 62/98) - transposing European directives;
  • Regulations governing Rental and Lending Rights, and certain rights relating to copyright that exempt public libraries, schools, universities, museums, public archives, public foundations and non-profit organisations from the payment of remuneration for public lending (Decree-Law 332/97); and
  • Regulations governing resale rights for original works of art (Law 24/2006). Transposes into national law European Parliament and Council Directive 2001/84/CE, of 27 September 2001 (the Resale Rights directive), on the right of resale for the benefit of the author of a work of art, subsequent to the first transfer of the work by that author.

A governmental office for author's rights was established in 1997 (Decree-Law 57/97) to provide information to the public and official support for new legislative initiatives by the government in copyright matters. With PRACE restructuring, this office is now integrated in GPEARI - at the Ministry of Culture.

There are also private institutions for the management of copyright and related rights in terms of the national legislation: the Portuguese Authors Society (SPA, founded in 1925), the Management of Artists and Performers Rights (GDA, founded in 1995) and the Association for the Management of Private Copies (AGECOP, founded in 1998).

In November 13, 2006 the Portuguese version of licenses Creative Commons was launched by UMIC the Agency for the Knowledge Society, in partnership with UCP-FCEE - Faculty of Economics and Management, Portuguese Catholic University and INTELI - Intelligence in Innovation. This launch follows a period of work with iCommons, the entity that manages these licenses internationally, which started just over six months and involved the translation of licenses and their adaptation to the Portuguese legal framework, a consultation period public, and finally the availability of these licenses in Portugal. These licenses allow the open sharing of knowledge by its authors and works in a simple, effective and very flexible way, providing a set of standard licenses that ensure protection and freedom - with some rights reserved. These licenses are entirely free. They are between the copyright (all rights reserved) and the public domain. Through the Creative Commons Licenses the author defines the conditions under which the work is shared, pro-actively and constructively, with others, with all licenses require that credit is given to the author of the work in the manner specified by him.[53]

Copyright law in Education

According to the current legislation - Code of Copyright and Law 16/2008 or Código do Direito de Autor e lei 16/2008 (As amended by Law 50/2004 of 24 August) in Chapter II, art. 75, paragraph 2 states: "It is lawful, without the author's consent, the following uses of the work: (...) f) The reproduction, distribution and public provision for education and educational, parts of a work published, provided that they are intended solely for purposes of teaching in these establishments and not aimed at obtaining an economic or commercial advantage, direct or indirect; g) the insertion of citations and abstracts of works of others, whatever their gender and nature, in support of their own doctrines or the purposes of criticism, discussion or teaching, and to the extent justified by the objective to be achieved; h) inclusion of short pieces or fragments of works of others in own works intended for teaching, (...) o) the communication or making available to the public for the purposes of research or personal study, to individual members of the public by dedicated terminals on the premises of libraries, museums, archives and public schools, protected works not subject to conditions purchase or licensing and integrating their collections or collections of goods. ".

Publication in Open Access (in Open Access Scientific Repository of Portugal - Repositório Científico de Acesso Aberto de Portugal with the acronym RCAAP -) does not limit or remove the rights of authors. The articles mantain the copyright and the author continues to have the freedom to publish with other means, particularly in scientific journals. The license established between authors and Open Access (OA) repositories is typically a non-exclusive licence which does not restrict the rights of authors. According to RCAAP when it is published an article in a scientific journal it called to attention to any conditional periods for the reading in OA if the article was first published in a scientific journal that has this type of requirement and, in this case, the author can do the self-archiving in OA, but must indicate that the document can not be read during a stated period. To meet the conditions of the various scientific publishers on this issue the RCAAP advises consulting the Sherpa Romeo site, before delivering an article for publication. The author should also see if it is allowed to use the document in pdf format created by publisher or whether to create its own self-pdf file. Anyway, most publishers allow self-archiving in institutional repositories.[54]

OER Policies and OER Initiatives in Portugal

By definition “Open educational resources (OER) are materials used to support education that may be freely accessed, reused, modified, and shared.”. Literature which supports OER has the goals " (...) to encourage decision makers in governments and institutions to invest in the systematic production, adaptation and use of OER and to bring them into the mainstream of higher education in order to improve the quality of curricula and teaching and to reduce costs.”[55]

In its response to the OECD questionnaire, Portugal reported that it has chosen to focus its OER efforts on young children (ISCED sectors 1 to 3).[56] [57] This is understood by the amount of OER projects of the Ministry of Education and Science for basic and secondary education. Furthermore most institutions of higher education in Portugal(including university) has scientific repositories of institutional character.

But a distinction between Open Access (OA) and Open Educational Resources (OER) should be made. According Budapest Open Access Initiative 2002[58] , "by "open access" to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited."

We proceed in this report by distinguishing initiative wich can be classified as "Open Access" from OER initiatives. In addition to this differentiation it shall be mentioned that the report will review both pure OER initiative and those who despite not constitute pure OER, are designed to encourage open and free sharing of education resources.

OER Policies

In Portugal the OER policies statement have taken place since 2004, but only with the purpose to support the open access on scientific literature. Created mainly by institutions of higher education, the existing policies have an institutional character and leading up to the OA movement in scholarly publishing. This subject has won a generalized attention after the declaration of «Acesso livre à literatura científica» published in 2006 by the Conselho de Reitores das Universidades Portuguesas (CRUP). This declaration «recommended to all the Portuguese universities to establish institutional repositories and to define institutional policies requiring their members to deposit their publications on those repositories » (Ricardo, Eloy, Pedro, José & Clara, 2012, p.128). On March 27th, 2010 the Conselho Coordenador dos Institutos Superiores Politécnicos (CCISP) also decided to support the principles of OA and recommended to all Portuguese Polytechnics Institutes the definition of institutional policies requiring their members to self-archive the scientific and academic publications on the respective institutional repositories (CCISP’s recommendation). One year before, this movement gained further momentum with the spread of the Kit de Políticas de Open Access. Created in 2009, under the project Repositório Cientifico de Acesso Aberto em Portugal (RCAAP), this document provides accurate and useful information for the formulation and implementation of policies for OA in research institutions (especially universities) and funding agencies for research. By the end of 2013, 12 of the 15 Portuguese universities members of the CRUP had already defined their own policies for open access to intellectual output and/or for deposit into the official institutional repository at the time of publication:

  • Universidade do Minho (UM): «Política de Auto-arquivo da Produção Científica da Universidade do Minho», defined in 2004 (Despacho RT-56/2004) and uptaded in 2010 (Despacho RT-98/2010)
  • ISCTE - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL): «Política de Acesso Livre e Auto-Arquivo do ISCTE-IUL», defined in 2009 (Despacho nº 84/2009).
  • Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD): «Política de Acesso Livre da UTAD» established in 2011 (Despacho n.º 8894/2011).
  • Universidade do Algarve (UAlg): «Política de depósito de documentos no SAPIENTA» defined in 2012 (Despacho RT.020/2012).
  • Universidade de Évora (UE): «Política de Depósito de Documentos no Repositório Digital de Publicações Científicas da Universidade de Évora» established, in 2013 (Despacho nº 65/2013)

On the institutional OA policies board created by the Polytechnics Institutes, the following stand out:

  • Instituto Politécnico de Leiria (IPL): «Política Institucional de Open Access» established in 2011 (Despacho n.º 26/2011).
  • Instituto Politécnico de Viseu (IPV): «Política de Auto-Arquivo da Produção Científica do Instituto Politécnico de Viseu» approved in 2012 (Despacho 6/2012).

Besides these institutions other higher education institutions have created their own OA policies:

  • Instituto Universitário de Ciências Psicológicas, Sociais e da Vida (ISPA): «Política de depósito de documentos no repositório científico do ISPA» approved in 2012 (RG068)

The year of 2013 was marked by two notable occurrences regarding the creation of OA national policies:

  • The article nº 50 in Decreto-Lei n. º 115/2013 has made mandatory the archive of a digital copy of PhD thesis and master’s degree dissertations on one of the repository that are a part of the RCAAP network.

OER Initiatives

National OER Initiatives

In this section we present two types of national OER initiatives with greater visibility in Portugal: 1) open access to intellectual output and/or scientific literature; and 2) open access to digital contents and resources for teachers and students from ministerial websites.

Open access to intellectual output and/or scientific literature

The first national initiative concerning open access publication was set up in 2005, with the availability of the portal of the Portuguese section of Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO Portugal) - an electronic virtual library covering selected scientific journals collections from Latin America, Spain and Portugal. This library belongs to a project being developed by FAPESP (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo), in partnership with BIREME (The Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information) and CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico). The coordination of SciELO Portugal is ensured by the DGEEC (Direção-Geral de Estatísticas da Educação e Ciência - Ministério da Educação e Ciência).

In March 2008, the UMIC (Knowledge Society Agency) developed some contacts with FCCN (National Foundation for Scientific Computation) and Universidade do Minho to set the foundations for a project aiming to build a national aggregator for hosting Portuguese repositories. That project was named RCAAP (Repositório Científico de Acesso Aberto de Portugal or Portugal Open Access Science Repository from Portugal) and started in July 2008. Various initiatives and activities were completed in the work plan of the RCAAP project, including:

  • Creation of RCAAP Portal - the national aggregator for Portuguese repositories - unveiled to the public during the 3rd open access Conference that took place at University of Minho on the 15th and 16th December 2008
  • Creation of Repositório Comum - a repository for scientific literature produced by research and education institutions whose size would not justify the creation of separated repositories. It allows institution, group or individual integration in the infrastructure of the project through the RCAAP and B-On portals.

Since then, there has been remarkable progress in the creation in full text and open access of institutional repositories for collecting, preserving and providing the intellectual production of the academic community (more detailed information can be found in the next section - Institutional OER Initiatives).

Open access to digital contents and resources for teachers and students

National initiatives presented here are open educational resources published and shared online via the websites that result from projects promoted by the Portuguese government, through the Ministry of Education and Science. These OER ministerial websites include numerous learning and teaching contents, curriculum support materials, digital journals, software tools, etc., and are designed to encourage the use and free sharing of educational resources. However, some of these educational resources are not truly open, requiring a prior registration for full access and/or enclosed contents without open licenses.

  • Portal das Escolas - website provided by the Ministério da Educação e Ciência (MEC) aims to promote and facilitate access to information and educational content through the Internet. In this website it is possible to find relevant information about the schools and their educational communities. A repository called Centro de Recursos Educativos offers over a thousand digital educational resources that can be used in teaching. It is possible for teachers to access the existing contents (including texts, videos, pictures and graphics), but also to contribute as authors, enriching the content repository. After registration in the Portal das Escolas, teachers in public education up to 12th grade can upload educational resources into this repository. The Equipa de Recursos e Tecnologias Educativas (ERTE) is the entity responsible for validation and integration of educational resources on this website. Each one references the Creative Commons License that governs its use. The Portal das Escolas is the largest collaborative network of education in Portugal, stimulating the production, sharing and use of digital content for the teachers’ community.
  • Biblioteca Digital – it is a digital library composed by resources edited by the Direção-Geral da Educação (DGE) and by General Directions that preceded it, and its main objective is providing comprehensive publications for free reading. The educational resources available in this space are organized in five thematic collections: 1) teaching curriculum (programs); 2) early childhood education; 3) special education; 4) curriculum support materials; and 5) digital journals.
  • Banco de Exames e Provas - with license CC BY-NC-ND 2.5, this website is an archive of all assessment instruments designed within the mission of Gabinete de Avaliação Educacional (GAVE) since 1997. From this archive is possible download files relating to old national benchmarking tests, final exams, exam papers and intermediate tests.
  • Banco de Itens - with license CC BY-NC-ND 2.5, this website provides a set of test items for students to train for the national assessment exams. This stock contains questions extracted out of the national tests and exams of previous years. The items are divided into 1st Cycle, 2nd Cycle, 3rd Cycle and Secondary Education. The curriculum contents covered for Basic Education (grades 1-9) are Mathematics and Portuguese and for Secondary Education (grades 10-12) are Natural Sciences (Biology, Geology, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics) and Social Sciences (Economics, Geography). Based on the set of items available the teachers can create various homework exercises. The teachers can also suggest items for later publication in the website. All suggested items will be analyzed by the Gabinete de Avaliação Educacional (GAVE).
  • Plano Nacional de Leitura – is a website that gathers several links to others sites related to projects developed under the Government initiative “National Reading Plan”. The main objective of this national plan is to raise the level of literacy of the Portuguese people and to place the country on a par with its European partners. The target audience is the entire population, from childhood to adulthood. Following we give a brief description of some of the sites made available by Plano Nacional de Leitura, highlighting those that contain open digital contents and resources that can be used by teachers and students in a classroom:
  • Biblioteca de livros digitais: space which is assumed as a repository of digital books by renowned authors and texts created by users (with over 8 years old) that feel motivated by them. According to the conditions of use of the digital library, the users are responsible for the copyright compliance of any content they submit (texts and audiovisual material - images, sounds and videos).
  • Clube de leituras: with license CC BY 2.5 PT, is an online reading club associated with a pioneer national project for promotion of reading habits. Structured around books, readers and blogs, it is a place of sharing for all who promote and enjoy the pleasure of reading.
  • Caminho das Letras: it is a modern multimedia system available online to develop children curiosity by letters, words and texts. This system contains an area devoted to teachers, which provides a set of guidelines and a range of activities for the developing of reading fluency.
  • GEORED: with license CC BY-NC-SA 2.5 PT, this website provide a set of digital educational resources for informal learning in the use of digital maps and Geographic Information Systems and for Geography teaching in pre-school, basic and secondary education. The GEORED is the result of a successful collaboration between the Associação de Professores de Geografia and the Departamento de Geografia do Instituto de Geografia e Ordenamento do Território, Universidade de Lisboa, and it was funded by the Ministério da Educação e Ciência.
  • Webin@r DGE: It is a website for promoting and sharing the materials that result from the Webinar initiative sponsored by the Direção-Geral da Educação (DGE). It is expected that these materials become facilitator’s instruments of the teacher's actions at different levels of education. The initiative Webinar is addressed to the school community and is characterized by online conferences, regular emissions of video-broadcasting, with presence of experts in various thematic areas of obvious interest for schools and teachers. The conference recordings available on this website are focused in various subjects related to educational and pedagogical challenges in pre-school, elementary and secondary education, including open educational resources.
  • Acordo Ortográfico: it is a ministry website that provides a range of statutory instruments, educational resources, materials and activities that encourage the implementation of the New Orthographic Agreement that came into force in Portuguese education system in 2011/2012. The target audiences for information and materials available here are teachers, students, families and the general public.
  • Centro de Recursos SeguraNet: it is a space integrated in the website SeguraNet providing over three hundred resources to teach about cyber safety: links to lesson plans, presentations of meetings on various topics, activities to develop in the classroom or school, cartoons and comics about online security, works done by students, legislative and regulatory information (ex. code of copyright, cybercrime, protection of personal data), studies and videos. Despite encouraging the school community to share educational resources under free copyright licenses (especially CC licenses), there is no guarantee that the resources available here are openly licensed.
  • eduSCRATCH: with license CC, it is a website that provides a range of educational resources developed under the Portuguese EduScratch initiative funded by the Ministério da Educação e da Ciência (MEC/DGE-ERTE) and one of its ICT Competence Centre (ESE/IPS). This initiative aims to promote the educational use of the programming language Scratch by supporting, teaching and sharing good practice among the Portuguese educational community. It contributes to the curricular integration of ICT as well as giving context to the implementation of ICT curricular targets in 2nd Cycle (grades 7-8).

Institutional OER initiatives


Open access to intellectual output disseminates and provides by Portuguese institutional OA repositories

Until the last quarter of 2006, the only two Portuguese initiatives related with open access to scientific literature were RepositóriUM and SciELO Portugal. After the dissemination of an open access declaration issued by CRUP and the very successful 2nd Open Access Conference, held at Universidade do Minho, this situation started to change on the last months of that year with the installation and creation of new open access repositories (Saraiva & Rodrigues, 2010). By the end of 2009 all universities member of CRUP had their own institutional digital repository of research materials and scholarly publications, but only a few institutions provided information about the type of license for data open access. Solely the publications deposited in the OA repositories of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Universidade do Porto, Universidade de Coimbra, Universidade Aberta and Universidade Católica Portuguesa are covered by the Creative Commons public license (CC BY-NC 2.5). Below is a list of OA repositories created by all universities member of CRUP.

  • RepositóriUM - Institution: Universidade do Minho (UM). Start year: 2003. License for data open access: not known.
  • RUN - Institution: Universidade Nova de Lisboa (UNL). Start year: 2007. License for data open access: all open access documents available through the RUN are protected by Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC 2.5).
  • Repositório da UTAD - Institution: Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD). Start year: 2007. License for data open access: not known.
  • SAPIENTA - Institution: Universidade do Algarve (UAlg). Start year: 2008. License for data open access: not known.

Regional OER initiatives


Other Internet supported open learning initiatives

  • Websites with materials ICT in Education, prepared by the Centers of Competences:
  • Projecto Portal Pedagógico Braga or Braga Pedagogical Project Portal : It intends to be a communicational and knowledge network to share digital resources and educational software between the educational community.
  • Agrupamento de Escolas do Caramulo or Group of Schools from Caramulo: The first Moodle made by a Portuguese School with completely free access to all content, betting on Open Educational Resources (OER), in line with UNESCO's guidelines.

O Observatório da Comunicação (OberCom) or The Observatory of Communication (OberCom) (Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.5))is an entity with a strong presence in the analysis of the ongoing digital revolution and its possible applications on multiple fronts. Over the last decade the OberCom has been a pioneer in the research of social networks and the transformation in newspapers, television, radio and journalistic practices. The mission of the Centre for Communication is to offer its members, not only help in the development of their products and objectives, but also new ways of understanding markets and audiences.[59]

Portugal has also been involved in some international OER projects, such as:

    • Lived Experience of Climate Change E-learning (LECH-e) - Lived experience of climate change: interdisciplinary e-module development and virtual mobility is a project that brings together nine European Higher Education Institutions across six countries to make a major contribution to sustainable development education. Supported by the European Union Erasmus Programme, the project has developed postgraduate online learning resources and virtual learning communities on the lived experience of climate change -- how individuals and groups experience its local impacts, such as extreme weather or biodiversity changes. They can be used flexibly to complement existing university programmes. Following a successful pilot involving 25 students from six universities, they are being revised for open educational resources at the project end (May 2012).In this project Portugal was represented by Universidade Aberta (Open University).
  • Open Educational Quality Iniciative (OPAL) - The overall aim of the OPAL is to support open educational practice by promotting innovation and improve quality in education and training through the use of open educational resources. This will lead to greater effectiveness of teaching and learning by enhancing the quantity and quality of open educational resources that can be incorporated into higher education and further education provision. In this project Portugal is represented by Universidade Católica Portuguesa (the Portuguese Catholic university).

Regional iniciatives:

  • The Fundação Alentejo – Terra Mãe or Foundation Alentejo - Mother Earth is a nonprofit private entity that was launched in 2007, with the Operational Programme Information Society / Knowledge Society support. In 2008 Digital Library of Alentejo was 705 documents available.
  • Hemeroteca Municipal de Lisboa (HML) or Municipal Newspaper archive from Lisbon, aims at building a digital library of newspapers and magazines relevant to the public domain. This project aims to create a reference site for online consultation and public dissemination of the fascinating universe of Portuguese periodical press.
  • ALEA - Acção Local Estatística Aplicada or Local Action Applied Statistics - In the Education, Information Society, Statistical Information, Training for Citizenship and Literacy Statistics framework ALEA contributes to the development and availability of tools to support the teaching of statistics to students in Basic and Secondary Education. The ALEA was born of a joint project of Tomaz Pelayo Secondary School and the National Institute of Statistics, having evolved into a reality in which the Regional Direction of Education of the North entered the core of the entities that streamline.

National and Institutional initiatives:

  • Património Museológico da Educação or The Inventory Scan and Heritage Museum Centre of Education is a database that provides a set of pieces that integrate the collections belonging to several schools, including former high schools and industrial schools. Its goal is to share with the community the developed work with schools and teachers and also disseminate the valuable part of the vast heritage museum that is under the Ministry of Education jurisdiction.
  • O Repositório Digital da História da Educação or Repository of History of Education covers , at this stage, the following areas of documents: Legislation; Textbooks; Works reflection on Education; curricular programs; Periodicals -.
  • Rede de Espaços Internet or Space Network - Dating from 2006 it is provided by Local Authorities, Parish Councils, Municipal Libraries, Social Solidarity Institutions, Digital Inclusion Centers, Collectivities from Culture and Recreation, among others. The telecentres and the local Internet Spaces are thus serving the inclusion of knowledge, sharing and creation from human value through ICT. At the portal of Internet Spaces Network, monitors and instructors can publish news about their initiatives as well as useful content (like pedagogical resources about ICT) contributing to the exchange of experiences and the pooling of knowledge. It also offers to citizens the possibility of having the diploma in basic ICT skills.
  • CRC Virtual is a collaborative platform of Centres of Knowledge Resource Network (each center is sponsored by a regional institutional entity), associated with the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training. CRC Virtual gives access to thousands of references of monographs, periodicals and hundreds documents in full text, open access.
  • Biblioteca Digital Camões or Digital Library from Camões Institute , Recently restructured, aims to be a repository of culture and Portuguese language and offers more than 1200 titles online;
  • Memória de África Digital or Digital memory from Africa sponsored by Portugal-Africa Foundation, the Institute of Economics and Managementof Lisbon University and the University of Aveiro;
  • Zappiens is a video server that enables efficient management of bandwidth and direct access to any part of a video during their transmission. Created in partnership with the National Archives, the University of São Paulo (USP), the National Education and Research Network (RNP) and the Foundation for National Scientific Computing (FCCN) of Portugal, Zappiens is a site of aggregation and visualization multimedia educational, scientific, cultural or artistic produced preferably in a school environment and in Portuguese and it is licensed under Creative Commons.
  • The project Teaching/Learning Philosophy carried out by the Center for Philosophy of the University of Lisbon, has been developing under the coordination of Prof. António Teixeira a benchmark for best practice in open educational resources in Philosophy. The project uses a blog to invite teachers to submit resources which then are subject to institutional validation by the project team for specific didactic use in the teaching of Philosophy in Secondary Education. The blog is also used to disseminate access to the validated resources and to the pedagogical guidelines for its use.


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  29. http://www.virtualcampuses.eu/index.php/Portugal#Schools_3
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  50. http://www.virtualcampuses.eu/index.php/Portugal#Education_in_Portugal
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  57. Hylén, J. et al. (2012), “Open Educational Resources: Analysis of Responses to the OECD Country Questionnaire”, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 76, OECD Publishing. http://oer.unescochair-ou.nl/?wpfb_dl=38
  58. Budapest Open Access Initiative in http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/openaccess/read
  59. OberCom, http://www.obercom.pt/content/home


  • Saraiva, Ricardo; Rodrigues, Eloy; Príncipe, Pedro; Carvalho, José & Boavida, Clara (2012). Acesso Aberto à literatura científica em Portugal: o passado, o presente e o futuro. In Repositórios institucionais. Democratizando o acesso ao conhecimento. Associação Portuguesa de Bibliotecários, Arquivistas e Documentalistas (APBAD), pp.127-152. Available in WWW: <URL: http://repositorium.sdum.uminho.pt/handle/1822/20542

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