Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Eurydice

EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Mobility and internationalisation

Portugal

13.Mobility and internationalisation

Last update: 7 February 2024

In Portugal, mobility and internationalisation in education and training focus on three priority areas: cooperation at EU levelinternational cooperation and development cooperation.

This involves a variety of national bodies, such as the General Secretariat of Education and Science, which coordinates the international work of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education and the Ministry of Education, ensuring coherence of their respective bodies and services, as well as coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Others include the Directorate-General for Higher Education (regarding higher education), the Directorate-General for Education (regarding school education) and the National Agency for Qualification and Vocational Education, I.P. (regarding vocational education and training and adult education), as well as the National Agency for Erasmus + Education and Training (which coordinates the implementation of Erasmus+,  an European Union programme, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education and the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security).

In relation to the European Union, cooperation in education and training takes place both at national and European levels via a diversity of programmes, activities and projects.

The Erasmus+ programme (2021-2027) for education, training, youth and sport programme prioritises social inclusion, ecological and digital transitions, and young people’s participation in democratic life, in line with European Education Area, the Action Plan for Digital Education and the European Skills Agenda. 
In Portugal, Erasmus+ is managed by two national agencies, the National Agency for Erasmus+ Youth in Action (for the youth and sports sectors) and the National Agency for Erasmus+ Education and Training (for the areas of school education, vocational education and training (VET) and adult education).
In the field of education and training, the programme foresees:

  • Key Action 1: Learning Mobility of Individuals- includes school education, vocational education and training, higher education and adult education. This includes mobility for teaching and non-teaching staff and pupils/learners. The cycle 2021-2027 includes several new features: (i) a new accreditation mechanism, which transposes the philosophy of the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education to the other sectors; (ii) short-term mobility projects; (iii) the possibility of virtual exchanges; (iv) blended mobility, intensive blended programmes and the mobility of higher education doctorate students. 
  • Key Action 2: Cooperation among organisations and institutions - includes specific support for cooperation partnerships and small-scale partnerships (in the school education, vocational education and training, adult education sectors). In higher education, in addition to cooperation there are alliances for innovation, forward-looking projects, Erasmus Mundus and European Universities. The school education sector includes Erasmus+ Teacher Academies, which aim to generate European partnerships for teachers and trainer training. Another important Centres of Vocational Excellence initiative defines a bottom-up approach to excellence, where vocational education and training (VET) institutions quickly adapt the supply of skills to changing economic and social needs. 
  • Key Action 3: Support to policy development and cooperation, including support for the preparation and implementation of the EU's general and sectoral policy agendas on education and training.

Erasmus also includes the Jean Monnet Actions in the field of education and training.

For more information on mobility via the Erasmus+ Programme, please refer to the various sections of this Chapter 13, such as the o Subchapter 13.1 - Mobility in Pre-school and School Education; Subchapter 13.2 - Mobility in Higher Education and Subchapter 13.3 - Mobility in Adult Education and Training, as well as the Erasmus+ National Agency website.

Portugal also collaborates on the European Commission project "Design a system to monitor the implementation of the law on inclusive education in Portugal", by the Structural Reform Support Service (DG Reform), implemented by the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education. This project aims to create a system to monitor the implementation of the legal framework on inclusive education in Portugal.

Regarding international cooperation, it is worth mentioning bilateral relations via cultural agreements with approximately 100 countries around the world, and bilateral cooperation in the field of education, in conjunction with the Portuguese body responsible for coordinating cultural cooperation, Camões, Instituto de Cooperação e da Língua, I.P.), as well as the activities of numerous international organisations in the field of education, such as OECD, the Council of Europe, the OEIONU and the UNESCO.

The Portuguese education system and educational policies have been widely scrutinised by leading international institutions through international surveys, evaluations and reports, such as PISA, Education and Training Monitor, Education at a Glance, TALIS, TIMSS and PIRLS.

Portugal has been working closely with the OECD and the European Commission on ambitious and comprehensive projects, such as the National Skills Strategy, the School Resources Review and the Future of Education and Skills: Education 2030 project. In addition to this, a network of Portuguese schools was set up (both nationally and abroad) to pool experiences and debate curriculum management and new learning environments for the acquisition of key competences for the 21st century. 

As part of the OECD's Education 2030 project, which aims to create an international reference framework of knowledge, abilities, attitudes and values for the 21st century, the Ministry of Education participated in the international questionnaire on curriculum and curriculum mapping (Curriculum Content Mapping), listing competences for essential learning in the 3rd cycle.

The Ministry of Education have also worked with the OECD towards the creation of a student agency in Portugal, which developed from The Students’ Voice conference, with several schools participating and initiatives involving assemblies and student action in the learning process that promoted responsible citizenship and participation in the present and future.

It is also worth mentioning participation in the OECD project, Strength through Diversity: Education for Inclusive Societies, which seeks to address inclusion in educational systems.

In terms of development cooperation, be it bilateral or multilateral, all activity is undertaken in close coordination with Camões, I.P., the body that is responsible for coordinating cooperation policy at the level of Portuguese administration.

There are also strong multilateral relations with the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa - CPLP), which holds an annual meeting of Ministers of Education, and where the work of the International Institute of Portuguese Language (Instituto Internacional de Língua Portuguesa - IILP) is of special relevance.

Internationalisation has become increasingly important regarding education development, as demonstrated by the implementation of several international initiatives, in accordance with the Portuguese education system's strategic development plan.

After Portugal signed up to the Bologna process, it became necessary to promote student, teacher and researcher mobility, both inside and outside the EU.

Various measures have been inplemented to ensure efficient and less bureaucratic student and graduate mobility processes, both national and international, which implies the removal of obstacles to the recognition of prior learning and qualifications.

Decree-Law No 74/2006, 24 March established the legal framework for degrees and diplomas in Portugal (later revised and complemented by Decree-Law No 107/2008, 25 June), introducing the necessary regulations for mobility of students between national and foreign HEIs, based on the application of European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).

HEIs in Portugal consider the level of credits and the academic area in which they were obtained, and, within their cycles of studies, credit education undertaken within the scope of other higher education cycles in foreign HEIs.

It is worth mentioning that this legislation establishes the legal framework for the creation of dual, multiple or joint degrees between Portuguese and foreign HEIs, which shows the importance of collaborative projects between institutions. The creation of dual, multiple or joint degrees and diplomas is supported by the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degrees, an integral part of the Erasmus + Programme, which is centrally managed by the European Commission.

Ordinance No 401/2007, 5 April, removes all obstacles for those who wish to re-enter, change or transfer courses in higher education, which includes students from foreign institutions, extending limits to admission and simplifying procedures.

The recognition of academic degrees and diplomas awarded by foreign HEIs in Portugal is regulated by Decree-Law No 66/2018, 16 August. This decree-law revokes the two previous ones, Decree-Law 283/83, 21 June and Decree-Law 341/2007, 12 October.

For additional information, see Subchapter 13.2 – Mobility in Higher Education.