Education in Portugal

Is Portugal’s beautiful climates tempting you and your family to move? Remember that educational systems vary through countries, Portugal’s education system is divided into four sectors: Pre-primary, basic, secondary and higher. The first three sectors are compulsory and begins at age 6 until 18. After this students have the option to attend higher educational institutes which are divided into two sub-system university education and polytechnic education. Compulsory education similarly to UK is free.

Kindergarten and basic education.

Pre-Primary school (Jardim-de-Infância) starts at ages 3 until 5; however is not compulsory. It is uncommon for younger children to attend nurseries and childcare centres.

1st cycle2nd cycle3rd cycle
1st year (age 6)5th year (age 10)12th year (age 12)
2nd year (age 7)6th year (age 11)13th year (age 13)
3rd year (age 8)14th year (age 14)
4th year (age 9)

As shown in the table above, basic school is split into three cycles from ages 6 until 14. English-speaking international schools in Portugal are fairly common, in particular in primary and secondary schools. These schools are commonly found in the Greater Lisbon area and the Algarve.

The first cycle is taught by a single teacher, the main objectives are to integrate development of studies and activities and the teaching of a foreign language. The second cycle lasts 2 years and covers interdisciplinary areas of basic education. Finally the third cycle consists of 3 years, classes are taught by a single teacher per subject to allow more detail to be taught per subject compared to only one in their first years.

Only 67% of the working population have completed a basic education which is a lot lower in comparison to the UK where manyjobs require the lowest level of basic education.

Education in Portugal

Secondary education

Firstly to enter secondary school all you need is a diploma to prove you have passed primary education. At this level of education the main grading system is through internal exams, where a marking scheme from 0-20 asses’s you. All students must attain above a 10 to pass, 10-13 shows sufficient work compared to 20 showing outstanding work.

Secondary education is the last stage of compulsory schooling. It consists of four types of secondary education schools, these include:

  • General Secondary Education
  • General and Vocation Secondary Education
  • Art Education
  • Vocational Education

Studying in Portugal

Five universities in Portugal feature in the QS World University Rankingsas well as the countries high ranking in schools it also contains many well reputed polytechnic schools. The main focus of polytechnic universities is to help prepare students for a certain career paths. The top 3 universities in Portugal include:

  • University of Porto – over 30,000 students (3,280 international)
  • University of Lisbon – over 47,000 students
  • Universidade NOVA de Lisboa – 19,0000 students

Public higher educational institutions consist of 14 Universities, 20 Polytechnic Institutes and 6 institutions of military and police Higher Education. Tuition fee’s for Universities in Portugal are a lot cheaper in comparison to the UK, on average it costs €950 -1250 per year. Studying for undergraduate programs is through an online system (Candidatura Online) the application lets you select up to six programs, this is a similar process equating to the UK.

Education in Portugal

Considerations when studying in Portugal

Countries inside the European Union do not need a visa to study in Portugal, only proof that the individual can financially support themselves is required. However for citizens outside of the EU who are staying in Portugal for more than 90 days there is a requirement to apply for a visa, they can cost up to 170 and take from 2 to 3 months to receive.