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Polytechnic (Portugal)

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Polytechnic (Portugal)

A polytechnic is a higher education educational institution in Portugal created in the 1980s. After 1998 they were upgraded to institutions which are allowed to confer licenciatura degrees. Before then, they only awarded short-cycle degrees which were known as bacharelatos[1] and didn't provide further education. After the Bologna Process in 2007, they have been allowed to offer 2nd cycle (masters's) degrees to its students. The polytechnical higher education system provides a more practical training and is profession-oriented, while the university higher education system has a strong theoretical basis and is highly research-oriented.

History and organization

There are fifteen state-run polytechnical institutes (the polytechnics) in university and polytechnic, with both kind of institutions operating across the country, and since after 2006, with the approval of new legislation and the Bologna Process any polytechnic or university institution of Portugal, is legally able to provide a first cycle of study, known as licenciatura (bachelor's degree) plus a second cycle which confers the mestrado (master's degree). The polytechnic institutions started to offer the first and second cycles after complying with the necessary requirements imposed by the upgrading due to the Bologna process, including a wider budget, proper research activities and a much larger number of doctorates among the teaching staff. Doctorate degrees (3rd cycle degrees) and extensive independent fundamental research work are still exclusive competences of the universities. However, although generally with less resources devoted to investigation than the university institutions, since after the Bologna Process (2006/2007) which allowed the polytechnical institutions to award masters' degrees and required the admission of doctorate-level staff, an increasingly large number of Portuguese polytechnical institutions have also established and expanded their own research facilities.

Polytechnic Schools (Escolas Politécnicas) were created in the 19th century in licentiate degree (licenciatura). The universities were also the only institutions awarding masters and doctoral degrees in Portugal to graduated people having the licenciatura diploma conferred exclusively in the universities. In general, the polytechnic system has been often regarded as a second choice alternative to the university for a large number of students. There was a historic connotation of the Portuguese polytechnical institutes as the schools of last resort, because of their general low selectiveness (which was clearly substandard from the 1980s to the mid-2000s), lack of historical notability, and diminute number of highly distinguished alumni and professors, which some feel hurts their reputation.[3] However, the changes introduced by the Bologna Process in Portuguese higher education created a more uniform and homogeneous higher educational system, at least in the public university and polytechnical institutions, which within a decade (1997–2007) became more equal, as far as is concerned with the formal attribution of academic degrees.

According to studies and reports, in the 1990s and 2000s, a fast growth and proliferation of private higher education and state-run polytechnical institutions with lower educational standards and ambiguous academic integrity, was responsible for unnecessary and uneconomic allocation of resources with no adequate quality output in terms of both new highly qualified graduates and research.[4] Since the creation of the Portuguese higher education polytechnical system, admission to public university programmes has been often more demanding and selective than to their equivalent in public polytechnics. Many specific university institutions and degrees have also been regarded as more prestigious and reputed than their peers from the polytechnic system.[5][6]

References

  1. ^ The Portuguese bacharelato degree awarded by polytechnical institutions or its predecessors, was not a bachelor's degree - it was one step below. Only the licenciatura degree was equal to the bachelor's degree. (See Higher education in Portugal for details)
  2. ^ (Portuguese) Andrea Trindade, “Ausên­cia de regras favo­re­ce a con­cor­rên­cia des­qua­li­fi­ca­da”, "O facto de cada instituição poder definir regras próprias de ingresso para os seus cursos é, no entender de Seabra Santos, mais um factor de «concorrência desqualificada e de nivelamento por baixo»: Uma escola de Engenharia, por exemplo, pode decidir que os seus estudantes não precisam de Matemática para entrar.", Diário de Coimbra (February 2, 2009)
  3. ^ (Portuguese Education magazine)a Página da EducaçãoEnsino superior deve abrir-se a novos públicos, in , interview to Ana Maria Seixas, Ph.D. in Education Sciences, professor and researcher at the Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação da Universidade de Coimbra (in Portuguese)
  4. ^ (Portuguese) Prof. Manuel Caldeira Cabral, Economics Department, EEG - Minho University Ensino superior cresceu nas instituições menos procuradas e com médias mais baixas, Público (January 8, 2007)
  5. ^ (Portuguese) Andrea Trindade, “Ausên­cia de regras favo­re­ce a con­cor­rên­cia des­qua­li­fi­ca­da”, "O facto de cada instituição poder definir regras próprias de ingresso para os seus cursos é, no entender de Seabra Santos, mais um factor de «concorrência desqualificada e de nivelamento por baixo»: Uma escola de Engenharia, por exemplo, pode decidir que os seus estudantes não precisam de Matemática para entrar.", Diário de Coimbra (February 2, 2009)
  6. ^ (Portuguese) Cláudia Valadas Urbano, A candidatura ao ensino superior politécnico: Escolha ou recurso?

See also

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