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Portugal
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Diagram of the education system



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  • Diagram of education system in country language

  • Old diagram using ISCED 1997 classification

  • Methodological notes for this diagram
  • Education system in Portugal

    Portugal
    Overview of the education system (EAG 2015)
  • Educational attainment is quite uneven in Portugal. At 36%, Portugal has the second highest share of the population without lower secondary education, behind only Turkey. However, the increase in upper secondary educational attainment between the generations in Portugal is the highest across OECD countries. Among those aged 55 to 64, only 23% attained at least upper secondary education but the rate jumps to 65% among 25-34 year-olds. Nevertheless, this is still below the OECD average of 83%.
  • Portugal has a very high earnings premium for tertiary education, reflecting its comparatively low tertiary attainment and graduation rates. Only 31% of adults aged 25-34 year-olds in Portugal have a tertiary qualification and only 43% of young adults in Portugal are expected to graduate from a tertiary programme, which is well below the OECD average of 50%. Men and women in Portugal who have attained tertiary education earn, on average, 68% more than those with only upper secondary education.
  • At the lower levels of education, teachers are better paid in Portugal than in most OECD countries, although this trend is reversed at the higher levels given the flat-pay system. At every level, however, there are comparatively more teachers per student than in most other countries. Student-teacher ratios in Portugal are, on average, smaller than in other OECD countries. There are 13 students per teacher in primary education, compared with an OECD average of 15 and in secondary education the ratio is 9:1, compared with an OECD average of 13:1.
  • In the years immediately following the financial crisis, total public expenditure on education in Portugal increased 14% between 2008 and 2010, only to fall 14% again between 2010 and 2012. Moreover, expenditure per student in Portugal stands at 7.444 euros, below OECD average of 8.982 euros in 2012. However the expenditure per student increased by 26% in Portugal between 2005 and 2012, a higher rate than the 21% for the OECD.
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    The following list displays indicators for which your selected country shows the highest and lowest values among countries. The list can be sorted by level of education or by age group. All rankings are calculated including available data from OECD and partner countries. Find out more about the methodology here.

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    Educational outcomes

    The level of upper secondary attainment among 25-64 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (43 %, rank 37/41 ) Download Indicator

    The level of upper secondary attainment among 25-34 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (65 %, rank 36/41 ) Download Indicator

    The level of upper secondary attainment among 55-64 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (23 %, rank 37/41 ) Download Indicator

    The level of below upper secondary attainment among 25-34 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (35 %, rank 5/40 ) Download Indicator

    The level of below upper secondary attainment among 25-64 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (57 %, rank 4/40 ) Download Indicator

    The level of tertiary attainment among 25-64 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (22 %, rank 31/40 ) Download Indicator

    The level of tertiary attainment among 55-64 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (13 %, rank 35/40 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-old men who have attained a general degree at the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (16 %, rank 7/29 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-old women who have attained a general degree at the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (16 %, rank 7/30 ) Download Indicator

    Portugal has one of the highest percentages of 25-64 year-old adults who completed only primary education. (33 %, rank 2/36 ) Download Indicator

    Portugal has one of the highest percentages of 25-64 year-olds whose highest education level is a master's or equivalent tertiary education degree. (17 %, rank 5/33 ) Download Indicator

    Portugal has one of the largest shares of 25-64 year-old women whose highest education level is a master's or equivalent tertiary education degree. (20 %, rank 3/33 ) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    In Portugal, the percentage of today's young people expected to graduate from upper secondary education during their lifetimes is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (100 %, rank 1/28 ) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, Portugal has one of the highest percentages of young people expected to obtain a master's or an equivalent degree before the age of 30. (16 %, rank 6/21 ) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, Portugal has one of the highest percentages of young people expected to complete a doctorate or an equivalent education during their lifetime. (2 %, rank 10/24 ) Download Indicator

    Among OECD countries and partner economies with available data, Portugal has one of the lowest percentages of young people expected to graduate from tertiary education during their lifetime. (43 Index, rank 19/23 ) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, Portugal has one of the lowest percentages of young people expected to graduate from tertiary education during their lifetimes. (42 Index, rank 14/19 ) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, Portugal has one of the highest percentages of young people expected to graduate from tertiary education before the age of 30. (36 %, rank 8/16 ) Download Indicator

    Among OECD and partner countries with available data, Portugal has one of the highest percentages of female graduates from tertiary programmes. (59 Index, rank 8/24 ) Download Indicator

    Portugal has one of the highest proportions of female graduates from master's or equivalent programmes. (61 Index, rank 4/33 ) Download Indicator

    Compared to other OECD and partner countries, Portugal has a large share of female graduates from doctoral or equivalent programmes. (55 Index, rank 4/40 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of young nationals expected to enter a bachelor's or equivalent programme during their lifetime is comparatively low. (51 %, rank 14/22 ) Download Indicator

    Fields of education

    The proportion of male graduates in sciences from upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries. (25 %, rank 2/30 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female graduates in the humanities and arts from upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries . (12 %, rank 6/30 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female graduates in sciences from upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries. (4 %, rank 5/30 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male graduates in the humanities and arts from upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries. (14 %, rank 3/30 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male graduates in the services sector from upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries. (20 %, rank 3/30 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female tertiary graduates in engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries. (32 %, rank 4/36 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female tertiary graduates in sciences is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries. (56 %, rank 2/36 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female graduates in agriculture from tertiary programmes is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries. (60 %, rank 6/36 ) Download Indicator

    Classroom environment

    In Portugal, the total intended instruction time for primary students (in hours per year) is one of the longest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (5971 Hours, rank 4/23 ) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, total intended instruction time for primary and lower secondary students (in hours per year) is among the longest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (8726 Hours, rank 6/23 ) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, the intended instruction time for primary students, in hours per year, is one of the longest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (995 Hours, rank 4/23 ) Download Indicator

    The number of grades that are part of compulsory primary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (6 Years, rank 4/36 ) Download Indicator

    Resources for education

    Annual expenditure per pupil at the pre-primary level is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (5713 USD Equivalent, rank 20/28 ) Download Indicator

    The share of private expenditure on all levels below tertiary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (15 %, rank 8/36 ) Download Indicator

    The share of private expenditure on tertiary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (46 %, rank 9/35 ) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, public expenditure on education as a percentage of total public expenditure is comparatively low. (10 %, rank 23/32 ) Download Indicator

    Public expenditure on educational institutions from primary through post-secondary non-tertiary level is one of the lowest compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (85 %, rank 29/36 ) Download Indicator

    The share of public expenditure on tertiary educational institutions is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (54 %, rank 27/35 ) Download Indicator

    The change between 2005 and 2012 in public expenditure on tertiary educational institutions is one of the smallest compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (78 Index, rank 29/29 ) Download Indicator

    The change between 2005 and 2012 in private expenditure on tertiary educational institutions is one of the largest compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (140 Index, rank 6/23 ) Download Indicator

    Between 2008 and 2010, the change in expenditure on educational institutions (from primary to tertiary level, excluding subsidies) as a percentage of GDP is among the biggest of all OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (115 Index, rank 4/29 ) Download Indicator

    Between 2008 and 2010, the change in public expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions is comparatively big, excluding subsidies. (114 Index, rank 5/29 ) Download Indicator

    Between 2010 and 2012, the change in expenditure on educational institutions (from primary to tertiary level) as a percentage of GDP, excluding subsidies, is among the smallest of all OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (90 Index, rank 28/30 ) Download Indicator

    Between 2010 and 2012, the change in public expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions is comparatively small. (86 Index, rank 30/30 ) Download Indicator

    Teachers

    The number of students per teacher in tertiary institutions is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (14 Students, rank 21/28 ) Download Indicator

    The number of pupils per teacher in pre-primary schools is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (17 Students, rank 9/35 ) Download Indicator

    The number of students per teacher in secondary schools is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (9 Students, rank 32/37 ) Download Indicator

    The number of hours per year lower secondary teachers spend teaching in public institutions is comparatively small in Portugal. (609 Hours, rank 24/33 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of lower secondary teachers younger than 40 is especially low. (27 %, rank 30/35 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of secondary teachers older than 50 is especially low. (3 %, rank 29/36 ) Download Indicator

    The share of teachers aged between 40 and 49 in secondary schools is especially high. (39 %, rank 2/35 ) Download Indicator

    Economic and social outcomes

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds without upper secondary education is comparatively high. (63 %, rank 9/37 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively high. (78 %, rank 10/37 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-old men with tertiary education is comparatively low. (86 %, rank 31/37 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-34 year-olds with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively high. (15 %, rank 6/37 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-34 year-olds with tertiary education is comparatively high. (14 %, rank 4/37 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 55-64 year-olds with below upper secondary education is comparatively high. (16 %, rank 5/35 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 55-64 year-olds with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively high. (13 %, rank 3/37 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-olds with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively high. (13 %, rank 3/37 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education is comparatively high. (9 %, rank 3/37 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-old men with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively high. (11 %, rank 5/37 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-old men with tertiary education is comparatively high. (7 %, rank 3/37 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-old women with upper secondary or a post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively high. (14 %, rank 4/37 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-old women with tertiary education is comparatively high. (10 %, rank 4/37 ) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old women with tertiary education and those with upper secondary education is quite high. (171 Index, rank 9/34 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a bachelor's or equivalent tertiary education degree is one of the highest of all OECD countries and partner economies for which data are available. (14 %, rank 2/38 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a master's or equivalent tertiary education degree is one of the highest of all OECD countries and partner economies for which data are available. (8 %, rank 3/32 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (15 %, rank 4/29 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a general upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (12 %, rank 6/27 ) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with a short-cycle tertiary education degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is high. (162 Index, rank 1/20 ) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with a bachelor's or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is high. (169 Index, rank 7/21 ) Download Indicator

    The gap in average earnings between 25-64 year-old women with a short-cycle tertiary education degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (108 Index, rank 5/13 ) Download Indicator

    The gap in average earnings between 25-64 year-old women with a bachelor's or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (163 Index, rank 2/20 ) Download Indicator

    The gap in average earnings between 25-64 year-old women with a master's or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (172 Index, rank 5/21 ) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old men with a short-cycle tertiary education degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is high. (164 Index, rank 1/20 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 20-24 year-olds who are neither employed nor in education or training is comparatively large in Portugal. (24 %, rank 8/36 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 15-29 year-old men who are not in education, are unemployed and are not in the labour force in Portugal is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (18 %, rank 4/37 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 15-29 year-olds with a tertiary degree who are neither employed nor in education or training is comparatively high in Portugal. (18 %, rank 6/35 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 20-24 year-old men who are neither employed nor in education or training in Portugal is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (24 %, rank 4/36 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 25-29 year-old men who are neither employed nor in education or training in Portugal is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (22 %, rank 5/36 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 20-24 year-old women who are neither employed nor in education or training in Portugal is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (24 %, rank 10/36 ) Download Indicator


    The data table will display up to six selected countries.
    General findings
    • On average, over 80% of tertiary-educated people are employed compared with over 70% of people with an upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education and less than 60% of people with below upper secondary education.
    • Across OECD countries, compared with adults with upper secondary education with income from employment, those with a tertiary degree earn about 60% more.
    • Adults with higher qualifications were more likely to report desirable social outcomes, including good or excellent health, participation in volunteer activities, interpersonal trust, and political efficacy.
    • First generation tertiary-educated adults and tertiary-educated adults whose parents also hold a tertiary degree share similar employment rates and pursue similar fields of study.
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    • OECD countries have made significant progress in narrowing gender gaps in educational attainment, pay and labour market participation. Nevertheless, in tertiary education, young women are still under-represented in the fields of mathematics, physical science and computing.
    • One in five 20-24 year-olds is neither employed nor in education or training. In addition, young people with lower attainment levels are more likely to be unemployed than their counterparts with higher attainment level.
    • Participation in employer-sponsored education is strongly related to proficiency levels in key skills such as literacy and numeracy as well as to educational attainment. About 57% of employed adults with good skills in ICT and problem solving participate in employer-sponsored formal and/or non-formal education, while only 9% of adults who cannot use a computer and lack of problem solving skills do.
    • When parents' education is taken into account, adults with tertiary education are 23 percentage points more likely than those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education as their highest level of education to be among the top 25% in monthly earnings.
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    • In a majority of OECD countries, education now begins for most children well before they are 5 years old. Some 74% of 3-year-olds are enrolled in early childhood education across OECD countries.
    • The average primary school class in OECD countries has 21 students, and this average increases to 24 in lower secondary education. Larger classes are correlated with less time spent on actual teaching and learning and with more time spent on keeping order in the classroom. Specifically, one additional student added to an average-size class is associated with a 0.5 percentage-point decrease in time spent on teaching and learning activities.
    • Graduating from upper secondary education has become increasingly important in all countries. Analysing countries for which comparable trends data are available for 2005 and 2013, the first-time graduation rate at the upper secondary level increased from 79% to 84%.
    • Across OECD countries, 77% of individuals with a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary qualification are employed - a rate that is 7 percentage points higher than that among individuals with a general upper secondary education as their highest qualification.
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    • Even though tertiary attainment is increasing, entry rate to more advanced tertiary degrees such as master's and doctoral levels tend to be lower than bachelor. More than one in two students is expected to enter a bachelor degree programme, compared to about one in five for master degree programmes
    • In most OECD and partner countries, labour market opportunities are better for adults with a master's degree or equivalent than for adults with a bachelor's degree.
    • Doctoral students tend to be much more internationally mobile than other students in tertiary education, and they are also more likely to study sciences and engineering. Women are still under-represented in doctoral programmes. In most OECD countries in 2013, around 45% of advanced.
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    • On average, OECD countries spend USD 10 220 per student per year from primary through tertiary education, with large variations between levels of education : Educational institutions spend an average of 1.2 times more per secondary student and 1.8 times more per tertiary student than per primary student.
    • Public funding accounts for 83% of funds for educational institutions from primary to tertiary education; varying from 91% for primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary educational institutions to 70% for tertiary institutions.
    • OECD countries spend an average of 5.3% of GDP on educational institutions from primary to tertiary education.
    • The share of private funding in tertiary education is increasing over the last 10 years, and the differentiation of tuition fees is increasing: About two thirds of private funding of tertiary institutions comes from households, through tuition fees.
    • More than 60% of current expenditure relates to compensation of teaching staff at primary and secondary levels. In most countries, salaries increased less since 2005 than between 2000 and 2005, and, only half of OECD countries show an increase in real terms between 2008 and 2013.
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    • Pre-primary and primary teachers earn 79% of the salary of a similarly-educated, 25-64 year-old full-time, full-year worker, lower secondary teachers are paid 81%, and upper secondary teachers are paid 83% of that benchmark salary.
    • Public school teachers teach an average of 1 005 hours per year at the pre-primary level, 772 hours at the primary level, 694 hours at the lower secondary level, and 643 hours at the upper secondary level of education. In countries with available data, the amount of teaching time in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education remained largely unchanged between 2000 and 2013.
    • The teaching workforce across OECD countries is ageing with the proportion of secondary teachers aged 50 or older climbed by 3 percentages points between 2005 and 2013, on average among countries with comparable data.
    • Teacher appraisal is legislated/required by policy or regulation in three-quarters of OECD and partner countries with available data.
    • Despite the increased use of ICT in a student's life, the use of ICTs in learning and pedagogy remains scarce. This may be because, among other things, teachers feel they are not sufficiently skilled in using ICT.
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    Note: These values should be interpreted with care since they are influenced by countries' specific contexts and trade-offs. In education, there is often no simple most- or least-efficient model. For instance, the share of private expenditure in education must be read against other measures designed to mitigate inequities, such as loans and grants; longer learning time is an opportunity to convey more and better content to students, but may hinder investments in other important areas. If you want further information on the nature of different variables, please take the time to read the analysis and contextual information, available at the website for each publication.
    All rankings for individual variables are compiled on the basis of OECD and G20 countries for which data are available. The OECD average includes only OECD countries which are listed here: http://www.oecd.org/about/membersandpartners/

    *TALIS averages are based on all countries participating in the TALIS survey, including partner countries and economies. This explains the difference between the OECD average and the TALIS average. Data from the TALIS survey and Education at a Glance (EAG) may differ. See Annex E of the TALIS technical report and Annex 3 of EAG for more details about the data collections.

    For additional notes, please refer to annexes in the list of links below the introductory country profile text.