Academic journal article Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research

Governance in Educational Institutions in Portugal

Academic journal article Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research

Governance in Educational Institutions in Portugal

Article excerpt

1 INTRODUCTION

The Old Continent has always been object of study and analysis as far as social policies are concerned and, in this context, the reforms carried out have been, and still are, an example for the rest of the world. Suffice it to cite the exemplifying frame that led to the approval of the Spanish constitution of 1978, not only at a Europe level, but internationally. Therefore, talking about a European scenario as a cultural, social and, especially, political and economic welter makes us reconsider the idea of Europe as a construct of differentiated countries, with common and sometimes diverse policies, that lead to a new vision of This European Space in which Portugal plays a key role.

We can unequivocally state that this country has always had a special interest in educational reforms. Aware of the power of education as a means of ideological and economic influence, the Portuguese government intends to assume educational responsibility based on principles that mark the future of its current policies (Teixeira et al., 2012). Compulsory education in close relation to the right to education and equity, and teacher training are the most significant axes of education in this territory, not only for their eminently reforming character, but for the importance acquired in the analysis of governance practices in training centres. Entangled in this complex framework, the events occurred in recent years in the Portuguese context become especially important. The global economic crisis that this country has been unable to escape and the political situation that it has generated at particular level have resulted in continued confrontations in which the political and educational issue has been strengthened. Opting for a further increase of compulsory education to 18 years, following the example of other European countries (Lei no 85/2009) -Belgium, Germany, Poland, Hungary y Holland (EURYDICE, 2010a)-, is one of the measures of the Socialist government to deal with this difficult situation. This is intended, firstly, to reaffirm its progressive ideology in the context of equal opportunities and the improvement of the quality of education, and also to respond to the European trend of increasing compulsory schooling (EURYDICE, 2010b). The purpose, therefore, is twofold. As stated by the Portuguese Prime Minister at the Conference of Experts held at the Cultural Centre of Belém (Portugal) on April 27, 2009, it is key to improve secondary education making it accessible to all citizens and to "retain" in the educational system to more than 35,000 students who left it before completing the top non-higher postsecondary education (15-18 years-old). This socialist reform responds to a common problem in our continent. In the words of Peña, "one of the primary concerns of the member states of the European Union has been, throughout its history, the extension of compulsory education. The general trend in all countries to extend compulsory education is justified largely by the need to provide all young people with the knowledge bases, skills and values that enable them to understand, participate and adapt to the working world and afterwards, to continue learning throughout life" (2000, p. 57). Therefore, from the perspective of social challenge that this latest legal development acquires, it is ensured that the group that, until that date, left school at an early age and was the most difficult to re-engage in educational and social terms, has the means, competences and training resources to develop a full life in the sense that Delors demonstrated a couple of decades ago (1996). It is, thereafter, when the increased number of students generates redefinitions in the organization of educational institutions that focus on the idea defended by Diaz Gibson et al. (2015): "the collaboration between educational and social organizations of the community represents a key asset to improve educational results" (p. 59).

Leaving the marked state control and the rigid organizational structures that characterized the Portuguese State in past decades, today we have the quasi obligatory mimicry with international policies, and, especially, European ones, and the consequent "accepted loss" of state sovereignty in favor of decentralized education units (Sorensen & Torfing, 2009). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.