Area Handbook for Portugal

By Eugene K. Keefe; David P. Coffin et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
EDUCATION AND THE ARTS

Portuguese education had been in a state of gradual transition in the early 1970s, its deficiencies generally recognized by government officials and educators; but the political and social pressures unleashed in 1974 by the revolution brought the educational system to a state of chaos from which it had not emerged at the end of the 1975-76 academic year. Traditionally, low priority was given to education and, as a percentage of gross national product (GNP -- see Glossary), Portugal's budgetary allocations for education were the lowest in Europe. Schooling was not a critical concern in the lives of most Portuguese. A large segment of the population had been excluded from full participation in the formal educational process and was suspicious of it or even hostile. Portugal had the lowest rate of literacy in Europe.

Despite reforms undertaken since 1964, education was essentially class oriented and aimed at meeting the requirements of an academically adjusted middle-class constituency. Teaching was formal and innovation discouraged. A large proportion of the teaching personnel did not possess officially required pedagogical training. There were substantial discrepancies in standards of education between urban and rural areas. Scientific and technical training was inadequate for the needs of future economic development. Statistics available in 1976 relating to education were dated and inadequate and did not reflect existing conditions.

Portugal has not been a pacesetter in the arts except in lyric poetry. Patronage of the arts came almost entirely from the court and the church until late in the eighteenth century. The arts in the nineteenth century mirrored the taste of the bourgeoisie. Even in the third quarter of the twentieth century, Portugal lacked cultural solidarity. Despite the work of exceptionally gifted artists and the periodic flourishes of creative activity -- which directly paralleled periods of prosperity in the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries -- Portuguese literature, architecture, music, and the plastic arts have been derivative of foreign styles and techniques. Outside Portugal the sixteenth-century poet Luís de Camões is perhaps the only widely known Portuguese artistic figure The Portuguese have been sensitive to what some observers have felt was a national inferiority in formal culture, and they have tended to be apologetic about their country's artistic expression. Art-

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Area Handbook for Portugal
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Foreword iii
  • Preface v
  • Country Profile vii
  • Portugal xi
  • List of Illustrations xii
  • List of Tables xiii
  • Chapter 1 - General Character of the Society 1
  • Chapter 2- Historical Setting 13
  • Chapter 3 - Physical Environment 59
  • Chapter 4 - Population and Living Conditions 81
  • Chapter 5 - Social System 115
  • Chapter 6 - Religious Life 139
  • Chapter 7 - Education and the Arts 167
  • Chapter 8 - Governmental System 193
  • Chapter 9 - Political Dynamics 221
  • Chapter 10 - Foreign Relations 257
  • Chapter 11 - Mass Communications 299
  • Chapter 12 - Character and Structure Of The Economy 311
  • Chapter 13 - Agriculture and Industry 333
  • Chapter 14 - Trade, Transportation, and Services 357
  • Chapter 15 - The Armed Forces 373
  • Chapter 16 - Public Order and Internal Security 397
  • Bibliography 411
  • Glossary 437
  • Index 441
  • Published Area Handbooks 455
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