The Portuguese state is a semi-presidential constitutional republic. There are four sovereign bodies in Portugal:
- The President of the Republic, who guarantees national independence and the unity of the state.
- Parliament, which has legislative power (both are elected by universal suffrage).
- the Government, led by the Prime Minister and has executive power.
- the courts, which exercise judicial power.
The Azores and Madeira archipelagos are autonomous regions with governments and legislative regional assemblies with their own powers.
The bodies of local power are municipalities and freguesias (parishes).
The Ministry of Education (basic and secondary education), together with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education (higher education), define, coordinate, implement and evaluate national policies for the education system, science and information society, articulating them as policies for qualifications and vocational training.
The Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security (MTSSS) has responsibilities regarding early childhood education and care for children up to three years old. It also has duties and competences in terms of training and recognition of vocational qualifications and the certification of training bodies, from ANQEP, I.P., a public institute indirectly subject to state administration under the supervision and responsibility of the Ministries of Education, and Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, in conjunction with the Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition.
The ME, the MCTES and the MTSSS fulfil their duties via direct state administration services, indirect state administration bodies, advisory bodies, other structures and bodies that are part of the state business sector.
In the Azores and Madeira Autonomous Regions, education is the responsibility of the regional governments, via the respective regional secretariats for education, which adapt national education policy to a regional plan and manage human, material and financial resources.
In accordance with the 23rd Government Organic Law, the central bodies regarding education are the following:
- General Secretariat for Education and Science (Secretaria-Geral da Educação e Ciência – SG|EC).
- General Inspectorate of Education and Science (Inspeção-Geral da Educação e Ciência– IGEC).
- Directorate-General for Education (Direção-Geral da Educação - DGE).
- Directorate-General for Higher Education (Direção-Geral do Ensino Superior– DGES).
- Directorate-General for School Administration (Direção-Geral da Administração Escolar– DGAE).
- Directorate-General for Education and Science Statistics (Direção-Geral de Estatísticas da Educação e Ciência – DGEEC).
- Institute for Financial Management of Education (Instituto de Gestão Financeira da Educação – IGeFE).
- Directorate-General for Schools (Direção-Geral dos Estabelecimentos Escolares - DGEstE).
To learn more about the organisation and governance of the national education system, and the duties of each of these bodies, see the chapter Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level.