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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Lifelong learning strategy


2.Organisation and governance

2.2Lifelong learning strategy

Last update: 8 June 2022

Portugal is committed to pursuing the European Union’s aim to set up a European Education Area (EEA) by 2025, following the Europe 2020 Strategy and the new strategic agenda (2019-2024). This will see investment in the population’s education and skills, something that all Member States need, as well as the pursuit of a Stronger Digital Europe, which contains aspects of inclusion, innovation and sustainability, as well as European values, which are reflected in education and training.

Among the EEA 2025 objectives that Portugal pursues are the following:

  • increasing quality, inclusion and gender equality.
  • promoting the green and digital transition.
  • providing support to boost teacher and trainer qualifications and motivation.
  • promoting higher education and cooperation among higher education institutions, thus consolidating the geopolitical aspect of cooperation between European bodies and partners to facilitate internationalisation.

The country shares the vision of needing to improve the skills levels of its citizens. This is reflected in the Council’s recommendation on trajectories for the development of skills and new opportunities for adults, particularly having activities as part of the European Agenda for Adult Education as a framework.

Furthermore, following The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, which was agreed in 2021, Portugal is obliged to contribute to the targets set therein, such as committing to at least 60 % of all adults participating annually in training by 2030. 

To pursue these aims strategically, aims include increasing mobility, promoting the European aspect of education, as well as international cooperation in education and training and higher education.

In Portugal, lifelong learning got a major boost in 2016 with the creation of the Qualifica Programme, which signalled a strong political commitment to improving the population’s qualification and employability levels. The following year, a change in the National Qualifications System (Decree-Law No 14/2017, 26 January) allowed the creation of the National Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (which enables the coherent crediting of training units and greater mobility and flexibility in training pathways) and the Qualifica Passport (a mechanism for guidance and individual registration of qualifications and skills), measures that revitalised the adult education and training sector.  
For additional information on the National Qualifications system and the Qualifica Programme, see Chapter 8 – Adult Education and Training.

In 2021, as part of the Recovery and Resilience Plan, a medium-term strategic vision was defined for Portugal’s social, economic and financial recovery, which sees citizens’ qualification and training as cornerstones. The country’s resilience will focus on improving young people and adults’ skills and their ability to function in an increasingly digital world, where science and innovation should encourage differentiated and innovative teaching strategies, while the education and training system should facilitate citizens’ lifelong learning. 
For additional information on the Resilience Plan, see Chapter 14 – Ongoing reforms and policy developments.

In terms of lifelong learning strategies, it is important to mention the European programmes in place in successive community frameworks. Currently, Portugal implements the new  community framework and the new Erasmus+ Programme 2021-2027, the EU's programme for education, training, youth and sport.  
Recognising the programme’s key role in the internationalisation of education and training in Portugal, as well as lifelong learning, the government established the Agência Nacional Erasmus+ Educação e Formação (National Agency for ERASMUS + Education and Training) as a management body for 2014-2020 (Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 15/2014, 24 February).
Like the other Member States, Portugal is preparing the transition to the new community framework and the new Erasmus Programme 2021-2027, the EU's programme for education, training, youth and sport.