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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


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  • Education system in Portugal

    Portugal
    Overview of the education system (EAG 2019)
  • Although a relatively high share of youth enrol in tertiary education, completion of tertiary programmes remains a challenge in Portugal. Only 30% of students who enter a bachelor's programme graduate within three years, the expected duration.
  • The most popular broad fields of study among tertiary graduates in Portugal are engineering, manufacturing and construction, and business, administration and law, which are also among the fields associated with the highest average earnings after graduation.
  • Portugal has relatively high enrolment rates in early childhood education and care for children aged 0 to 5. However, expenditure per child in pre-primary education remains below the OECD average.
  • Portugal's teaching workforce has been ageing over the past decade and is among the oldest of all OECD countries.
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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 proportion of 25-64 year-old men who have attained a vocational degree at the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (7.5 %, rank 31/33 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-old women who have attained a vocational degree at the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (6.6 %, rank 30/33 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, the percentage of 25-64 year-olds who attained a bachelor's or equivalent tertiary education degree is one of the lowest among countries with available data. (6.5 %, rank 39/46 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, the average age of upper secondary graduates from general programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data (25.7 Years, rank 18/23 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The average age of upper secondary graduates from general programmes in Portugal is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data (19.8 Years, rank 4/38 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Attainment by gender

    In Portugal, the share of 25-64 year-old men who attained a bachelor's or equivalent tertiary education degree is one of the smallest among countries with available data. (5.8 %, rank 38/46 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The share of 25-64 year-old women who attained a bachelor's or equivalent tertiary education degree is one of the smallest among countries with available data. (7.1 %, rank 39/46 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Attainment by field of education

    The percentage of 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education who studied in the field of business, administration and law is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (21.2 %, rank 24/32 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education who studied in the field of information and communication technologies is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (1.7 %, rank 29/32 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    The proportion of 25-64 years-old adults with below upper secondary education participating in formal education is low in Portugal. (1.8 %, rank 22/24 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Among adults (25-64 years-old) with below upper secondary education, a high proportion participate in non-formal education. (30.3 %, rank 8/33 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Participation rate of 25-64 year-olds in job-related non-formal education not sponsored by the employer is high in Portugal, compared to other countries with available data. (11.5 %, rank 10/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Participation rate of 25-64 year-olds in not job-related non-formal education is low in Portugal, compared to other countries with available data. (11.3 %, rank 31/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of 25-64 year-old women participating in not job-related non-formal education is small. (12.9 %, rank 31/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, the share of part-time students in short-cycle programmes is relatively small. (0.4 %, rank 22/26 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, the share of part-time students in bachelor's programmes is relatively small. (6.2 %, rank 27/30 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, the share of part-time students in master's programmes is relatively small. (4.2 %, rank 30/30 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of part-time students in doctoral programmes in Portugal is relatively small. (7 %, rank 20/29 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, the proportion of new female entrants into master's long first degree (LFD) programmes is relatively low. (51.5 %, rank 20/24 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Graduation expectancy

    The percentage of today's young people expected to graduate from post-secondary non-tertiary education during their lifetime is one of the lowest among countries with available data. (0.9 %, rank 21/22 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Graduation by gender

    In Portugal, the share of female doctoral graduates in the field of Natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is relatively high. (56.4 %, rank 5/43 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, the share of female doctoral graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is relatively high. (42.7 %, rank 5/42 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of female graduates among post-secondary non-tertiary graduates from vocational programmes in Portugal is relatively low. (39.4 %, rank 22/25 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Graduation by field of education

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (4.8 %, rank 41/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of business, administration and law is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (19.4 %, rank 36/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of information and communication technologies is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.9 %, rank 39/43 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (20.9 %, rank 3/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, the proportion of upper secondary vocational graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (19.2 %, rank 28/33 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, the percentage of post-secondary non-tertiary vocational graduates in the field of business, aministration and law is relatively low. (5.1 %, rank 23/25 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, the percentage of post-secondary non-tertiary vocational graduates in the field of health and welfare is relatively low. (0 %, rank 23/25 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Fields of education

    In Portugal, the percentage of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of education is relatively low. (4.7 %, rank 31/35 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, the percentage of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is relatively low. (3 %, rank 30/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of national tertiary students enrolled in the field of education in Portugal is relatively low. (3.6 %, rank 37/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of national tertiary students enrolled in the field of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in Portugal is relatively low. (2.5 %, rank 33/36 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Portugal,the share of male among new entrants to doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is relatively small. (60.6 %, rank 32/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, the share of male among new entrants to doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of health and welfare is relatively small. (32.8 %, rank 28/33 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Student mobility

    Portugal has a small share of international students graduate from tertiary programmes compared to other OECD countries and partner economies. (2.2 %, rank 22/27 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, international students from Latin America and the Caribbean are most represented among all international students, compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (38.2 %, rank 8/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, international students from Africa are highest represented among all international students, compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (33.6 %, rank 3/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, the proportion of new international entrants into master's long first degreee (LFD) programmes is relatively low. (6.4 %, rank 14/20 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Student mobility by field of education

    The percentage of international tertiary students enrolled in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction in Portugal is relatively high. (20.6 %, rank 7/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Organisation of the education system

    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. (1039 Hours, rank 4/29 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Classes in lower secondary private institutions are comparatively large in Portugal. (24 Students, rank 6/32 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Expenditure per student

    Annual expenditure per tertiary student is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (8380 USD Equivalent, rank 24/32 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Public and private expenditure in education

    The share of private expenditure on pre-primary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (36.2 %, rank 3/31 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of public expenditure on tertiary educational institutions is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.8 %, rank 34/39 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Change in public expenditure on educational institutions for primary to tertiary education between 2010 and 2016 in Portugal is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (-9.8 %, rank 27/27 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Tuition fees

    In Portugal, the percentage of students who do not benefit from public/government-guaranteed private loans or public scholarships/grants is comparatively high. (79 %, rank 3/14 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Teachers

    The number of days of instruction in a school year in pre-primary school is especially low. (172 Days, rank 27/28 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The number of days of instruction in a school year in lower secondary school is especially low. (167 Days, rank 32/33 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The number of days of instruction in a school year in upper secondary school is especially low. (167 Days, rank 32/33 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Ratio of student to teaching staff

    The number of students per teacher in primary schools is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner countries with available data. (12.7 Ratio, rank 32/41 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The ratio of students to teaching staff at the upper secondary level is especially low. (9.2 Ratio, rank 37/38 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The number of students per teacher in secondary schools is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (9.5 Ratio, rank 33/38 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Who the teachers are

    The share of women among teaching staff in pre-primary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (99.1 %, rank 9/40 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary teachers younger than 30 is especially low. (1.1 %, rank 34/35 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of lower secondary teachers younger than 30 is especially low. (0.7 %, rank 34/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of upper secondary teachers younger than 30 is especially low. (1.7 %, rank 32/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary to upper secondary teachers younger than 30 is especially low. (1.2 %, rank 34/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary to upper secondary teachers older than 50 is especially high. (40.6 %, rank 10/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Teachers' salaries

    The ratio of pre-primary teachers' salaries to earnings of full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.53 Ratio, rank 1/24 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The ratio of lower secondary teachers' salaries to earnings of full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.37 Ratio, rank 3/27 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The salaries of 25-34 year-old general lower-secondary teachers relative to earnings for full-time, full-year similarly educated workers with tertiary education is high in Portugal. (1.46 Ratio, rank 2/22 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The salaries of 55-64 year-old general lower-secondary teachers relative to earnings for full-time, full-year similarly educated workers with tertiary education is high in Portugal. (0.92 Ratio, rank 6/22 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The average actual salaries of 55-64 year-old lower-secondary teachers is one of the highest in Portugal. (53624 USD Equivalent, rank 8/23 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Teachers' salaries progression

    The salary progression from the start to the top of the salary scale for a lower secondary school teacher is among the most rewarding among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2.16 Ratio, rank 2/34 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Salaries of primary school teachers with minimum training at the top of scale are especially high. (72369 USD Equivalent, rank 6/34 , 2018) Download Indicator

    It takes lower secondary teachers longer to progress through the salary scale in Portugal compared to other OECD and partner countries. (34 Years, rank 7/25 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In lower secondary education, the salary ratio of teachers with maximum qualifications at the top of the salary scale to those with minimum training and starting salaries is comparatively high. (2.16 Ratio, rank 8/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Principals' salaries

    Lower-secondary school heads' salaries relative to earnings for full-time, full-year similarly educated workers with tertiary education is high in Portugal. (1.99 Ratio, rank 2/22 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Employment and educational attainment

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a general upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (82.9 %, rank 2/38 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Unemployment and educational attainment

    Among the unemployed population aged between 25 and 64 with below upper secondary education, the share of those who have been unemployed for at least 12 months is one of the largest in Portugal, compared to other OECD countries. (64.1 %, rank 4/38 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Among the unemployed population aged between 25 and 64 with tertiary education, the share of those who have been unemployed for at least 12 months is one of the largest in Portugal, compared to OECD countries. (48.7 %, rank 3/38 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The inactivity rate of 25-34 years-old adults with below upper secondary education is low in Portugal. (12.5 %, rank 42/42 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The inactivity rate of 25-34 years-old adults with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low in Portugal. (9.1 %, rank 41/42 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The inactivity rate of 25-34 years-old adults with tertiary education is low in Portugal. (7.8 %, rank 35/43 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Earnings and educational attainment

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (among 25-64 year-olds with upper secondary education and income from employment) are one of the lowest among countries with available data. (74.6 %, rank 28/37 , 2016) 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 low. (96 Index, rank 28/29 , 2016) 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 lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (99 Index, rank 27/27 , 2016) 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 low. (95 Index, rank 29/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of foreign-born aged between 25 and 64 who work full- and part-time with a short cycle tertiary education are comparatively low. (95 Index, rank 28/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings by field of education

    Earnings of tertiary-educated adults who studied in the field of education are low, compared to earnings of all tertiary-educated adults in Portugal. (70.6 %, rank 14/15 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Earnings of tertiary-educated adults who studied in the field of arts and humanities, social sciences, journalism and information are high, compared to earnings of all tertiary-educated adults in Portugal. (76.4 %, rank 5/14 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Earnings of tertiary-educated adults who studied in the field of business, administration and law are high, compared to earnings of all tertiary-educated adults in Portugal. (111.6 %, rank 6/15 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Earnings of tertiary-educated adults who studied in the field of natural sciences, mathematics and statistics are low, compared to earnings of all tertiary-educated adults in Portugal. (101 %, rank 11/14 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Earnings of tertiary-educated adults who studied in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction are low, compared to earnings of all tertiary-educated adults in Portugal. (109.3 %, rank 11/15 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Earnings of tertiary-educated adults who studied in the field of health and welfare are high, compared to earnings of all tertiary-educated adults in Portugal. (91.6 %, rank 10/15 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Neither in education nor employed

    The percentage of 25-29 years-old women neither employed nor in education or training is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (13.5 %, rank 36/40 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Migrant background

    The proportion of 25-64 year-old native-born people who have attained tertiary education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (23.1 %, rank 26/30 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The percentage of native-born aged between 25 and 64 who attained upper secondary or post-secondary non tertiary education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (22.7 %, rank 27/30 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Social outcomes

    In Portugal, a small share of adults (25-64 years-old) with below upper secondary education participated in formal voluntary activities in the 12 months prior to the survey. (6.1 %, rank 23/28 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Portugal, a small share of adults (25-64 years-old) with tertiary education participated in formal voluntary activities in the 12 months prior to the survey. (16.6 %, rank 23/29 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Among 25-64 years-old adults with below upper secondary education, a low proportion have someone to ask for moral, material or financial help. (87.3 %, rank 23/29 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Among 25-64 years-old adults with tertiary education, a low proportion have someone to ask for moral, material or financial help. (95.7 %, rank 22/29 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Compared to other countries with available data, the percentage of adults (25-64 years old) with below upper secondary education who actively participate in social media on a daily basis is low in Portugal. (14.3 %, rank 21/29 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Among employed adults (25-64 years-old) with below upper secondary education, a small share have difficulties to fulfill their family responsabilities because of their jobs, compared to other countries with available data. (41.4 %, rank 13/18 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The proportion of employed adults (25-64 years-old) with below upper secondary education who have concentration difficulties at work because of family responsabilities is high in Portugal. (29.4 %, rank 10/18 , 2015) Download Indicator


    The data table will display up to six selected countries.
    General findings
    • In 2018, 44% of 25-34 year-olds held a tertiary degree, compared to 35% in 2008, on average across OECD countries.
    • Tertiary-educated adults also reap higher earnings, although this varies by field of study. Their advantage increases with age too: 25-34 year-olds with tertiary education earn 38% more than their peers with upper secondary education while 45-54 year-olds earn 70% more.
    • While engineering, manufacturing and construction, and information and communication technologies are two fields most commonly associated with the best labour market outcomes, only 14% of graduates earned a degree in the former and 4% earned a degree in the latter in 2017.
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    • Although graduation from upper secondary education increased by 6 percentage points between 2005 and 2017, 15% of 25-34 year-olds did not attain upper secondary education in 2018, on average across OECD countries.
    • In some countries, vocational programmes are prominent at the upper secondary level. On average across OECD countries, 40% of first-time upper secondary graduates earned a vocational qualification in 2017; in Austria, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, more than 66% of this population did.
    • At the lower secondary level, the average class shrank by 6% while teachers' statutory salaries increased by 8% between 2005 and 2017, on average across OECD countries.
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    • In 2017, more than one in three children under the age of three were enrolled in early childhood education and care services, on average across OECD countries - an increase of 7 percentage points compared to 2010.
    • Between the age of 3 to 5, on average across OECD countries, 87% of children are enrolled in pre-primary and primary education.
    • Annual expenditure per child in early childhood development programmes was greater than in pre-primary education in 2016 on average across OECD countries. However, as a share of GDP, expenditure on early childhood development is lower.
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    • In 2016, expenditure per tertiary student amounted to USD 15 556, approximately one-third of which was devoted to research and development.
    • Private sources financed more than 30% of the expenditure, on average, at the tertiary level compared to 10% at primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary level.
    • OECD countries spent an average of 3.5% of GDP on primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary institutions in 2016, and public expenditure at this level increased by 18% since 2005.
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    • About 10% of primary and secondary teachers are under the age of 30, on average across OECD countries.
    • While the teaching profession is dominated by women, the share of female teachers decreases with the level of education taught: almost all teachers at the pre-primary level are women, however they make up less than half of the teaching force at tertiary level.
    • Salaries tend to increase with the level of education taught, but teachers' earnings remain between 78% and 93% of the earnings of other tertiary-educated adults.
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    Key
    Country Reviews for Portugal

    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 2019 for more details about the data collections.

    B-S-J-Z (China) refers to the four PISA-participating provinces/municipalities of the People's Republic of China: Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

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