Education in Portugal
Portugal has an excellent education system and offers state or private education. Public schools are free. Usually children attend public schools locally or in areas where their parents work. All subjects are taught in Portuguese, though some teachers may know English. Nevertheless, many foreigners choose state schools over private as children will learn Portuguese and will not be tempted to speak in a language they are used to. In order to enrol a child in a school, parents should take the necessary documents to the school of their choice between January and May. Education in private and international schools on the other hand is not free. Usually these institutions are popular with expats. Classes in private schools are smaller and apart from basic studies, students (or their parents) may choose extracurricular activities. International schools have a stronger and higher standard of education.
Both state and private institutions offer 4 levels of education. The first level is Pre-primary education (jardin-de-infância), which lasts for 2 years between the ages 3 to 5. Basic education (ensino básico) follows,starting from the age of 6 up to 15. This is compulsory and falls into 3 steps, or as they call it, Ensino Básico Ciclos. After graduating, a student may continue their education in school or attend college. If school is chosen, than the student has to study for 2 more years (ensino secundário).
Higher education is divided into two levels: university education and non-university education (polytechnic education). Universities, as with schools, offer both state and private education. If, at some point, a student decides to choose private institution over state (or vice-versa), then they can easily transfer. Five universities in Portugal feature in the QS World University Rankings 2016/17 – a list of the world’s top universities. At the top are the University of Porto, the University of Lisbon, the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, andthe University of Coimnbra. In Universities students can get 3 levels of degree, which are bachelor or licenciatura (3-4 years), masters or mestrado (1-2years), and doctorate or duotoramento (3 years). Portuguese universities offer their students strong academic education, but polytechnics focus on career skills. Lisboa and Porto are also known as major student cities, both having a lively atmosphere.