Portugal: Conference on the future of education


About two hundred teachers, school directors, parents and non-teaching staff participated, on 7 May 2016, in the 4th Annual Convention of FNE (National Federation of Education), one of ETUCE’s Member organisations in Portugal, the National Confederation of Parents' Associations and the National Association of Directors of Public Schools, held in Santa Maria da Feira. Under the title “Education for a new century - Which educational responses? Which curriculum? Which school organisation?” this event brought together experts who discussed the future of education in Portugal.

Opening the joint event, João Dias da Silva, Secretary General of FNE, emphasised ‘the virtues of education and training as engines of personal and collective development and its crucial role as a motor of equality, equity and sustainability of each country’. João Dias da Silva stressed in particular 'the struggle of FNE for public schools for all and by all, which are certainly the responsibility of the whole society'. He also emphasised 'the importance of social dialogue as a source of lasting solutions’.

Several speakers addressed the participants, among them João Cunha’s, school leader, who began with a presentation on “How Schools Can Innovate the Classroom”, taking the example of his school, which is set in a rural and disadvantaged area and integrated into a Microsoft Project Office 365® linking it to a worldwide network of interconnected schools. Antonio Osorio, from the University of Minho, gave a presentation on “Present Technologies and the School of the Future”. This researcher, who works on ICT integration issues in education, spoke of the current technological dependence and how new technologies are changing our lives. Further experts then triggered several debates on issues such as early school leaving and poor learning outcomes.

During the closing session, the three organisations renewed their commitment to work together for a more effective education system in Portugal, through the constructive mobilisation of teachers, parents and school leaders. As João Dias da Silva, General Secretary of FNE, pointed out: “Good solutions in education are only good if they are built in partnership”.