Lower tuition fees and living expenses make it a popular destination for its most affordable degrees in Europe
Perhaps small in its size, Portugal boasts a vast mix of educational institutions, all of which are globally recognized and rank highly on the top charts.
Europeâ€™s oldest nation-state provides students with a high standard of education and diverse choices of schools or universities throughout multiple Portuguese cities.Â Something that Indians may just be discovering.
Overview of education in Portugal
Portugal divides education into two options; public and private. While public education is free for citizens and residents, private education comes with tuition set by each institute.
Children aged three to six can enroll in public pre-schools free of charge or may attend private pre-schools at prices varying between 300 to 400 Euros a month.
Though pre-school is optional in Portugal, primary school is mandatory. Children aged six to 15 must attend either a free, public school where the curriculum is in Portuguese or choose a private school with tuition fees or an international school that provides English-based teaching – a popular choice with expats.
A higher percentage of three to five-year-olds (91%) were enrolled in early childhood and primary education in Portugal than in other countries (88%).
Secondary school, also known as high school, in Portugal is likewise compulsory. At this stage, students aged 15 to 18 choose to proceed to university for higher education or join the workforce.
Like primary schools, public secondary schools are free, but private secondary schools have a tuition fee averaging between 400 to 500 Euros a month. The tuition fee in international schools depends on the institute itself, but a rough average is around 800 Euros a month.
Read: Indians among top nations getting Portuguese visas (September 17, 2021)
Higher education in Portugal
Portugalâ€™s network of higher education institutions offers excellent systems, research, and teaching. Students have all the equipment, courses, and resources they need to broaden their horizons.
Portugal’s heavy focus on research & development in tech, medicine, agriculture, and more has created an innovative mindset within campuses throughout the nation.
Public schools rank higher than private ones, which fall shortly behind, and although most courses are in Portuguese, English courses are available for both local and international students.
In 2019, Portugalâ€™s employment rate among those with a post-secondary education was higher than other European and non-European countries, ranking in the top 10. This allows fresh graduates to quickly build upon their education through hands-on experience.
Moreover, graduates with a higher education from Portugal earned 69%, compared to 54% from other countries, in income from full-time employment.
As part of the European Educational System, Portugal employees the same high-quality standards as the EU, and Portuguese higher education consists of university and non-university (Polytechnic) education.
The former is research-based and comprises 13 public universities, one public institute, one open public university, and several private institutions. The latter is profession-based and accentuates practical training and education.
Portugal offers around 5000 courses of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees through 134 public and private universities, university institutes, polytechnic institutes, and other higher education establishments. These are open to anyone who has completed secondary education, an undergraduate degree, and a masterâ€™s degree respectively.
The academic year commences in September and ends in June. The requirements for admission differ as each university has its own prerequisites and procedures, but that always includes an entrance examination.
Best universities in Portugal
Portugal excels in education in economics, management, and tourism. The most respected and high-end universities are in Lisbon, Porto, and Coimbra, and each specializes in a particular area such as medicine, electronics, and engineering.
As per the QS World University Rankings (2018), the top five universities in Portugal are:
The University of Porto: Ranked 301st worldwide with over 31,000 students in the heart of the city of Porto. It possesses a solid research track record with its expanded research & development activities.
The University of Lisbon: Ranked 305th globally, and ranked in the top 100 in 2017, is Portugalâ€™s largest university.
Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (NOVA): Ranked 361st, NOVA specializes in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and FAME (Finance, Accounting, Management, and Economics) subjects.
The University of Coimbra: Ranked among 401-410 in the world, itâ€™s Portugalâ€™s oldest university with a substantial percentage of international students and specializes in arts and humanities in addition to STEM subjects.
University tuition in Portugal
It is common knowledge that public institutions cost less than private ones. Even though public universitiesâ€™ tuition fees vary, it has a set upper limit of 872 Euros for an undergraduate degree, while private universities can charge higher and average around 3,000 Euros annually.
Higher fees apply for PhDs programs, usually between 2,500 to 3,000 Euros per year.
Tuition fees for international students are higher than nationals, averaging 550 â€“ 1,050 Euro/year for a bachelorâ€™s degree and 500-2,500 Euro/year for a masterâ€™s degree in public universities (with exceptions), and over 7,000 Euro/year in private universities.
Yet, these come with constant access to various financial aids, scholarships, and grants that are available to non-EU students.
Reasons to study in Portugal
Even if you put the perfect climate, beautiful scenery, and rich culture aside, there would still be plenty of reasons to study in Portugal. Some of which are:
Robust education infrastructure: Having a diverse portfolio of public and private universities and polytechnics, Portugal offers students a wide assortment of choices for all levels.
As Portugalâ€™s government implemented a teachersâ€™ evaluation approach to enhance educational performance and outcomes, basic educational systems have strengthened and prepared for future development.
Additionally, many international schools are located in Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve for resident ex-pats.
Education infrastructure is built on a solid base of more numerous majors; for example, an innovative manufacturing field, an award-winning health and environment segment, and a leading technology and computer science sector.
Cost-effective, high-quality education: Tens of thousands of students choose to study abroad in Portugal due to its lower tuition fees and living expenses in comparison to the UK, US, and Australia, making it a popular destination for its most affordable degrees in Europe.
Comfortable living environment: The Mediterranean lifestyle, with all its warm features, combined with safe grounds surrounded by serene beaches, lure many to Portugal.
Read: Reasons To Study In Portugal: International Student Survey (March 17, 2021)
The most peaceful country in the Westernmost of Europe is inhabited by the friendliest of people, making the study abroad experience heartfelt, comfortable, and memorable.
Education in Portugal a major attraction: Many high net worth individuals from around the globe analyze crucial aspects of any destination they are considering migrating to. And one of the most important of those aspects is the level of education.
Portugalâ€™s robust education infrastructure and the pro-learning mindset prevalent within the nation have made it a hotspot for the global elite.
The level of education in the EU nation is also a significant driver of the prominent golden visa program which is the simplest route to immigrating to Portuguese shores.
(Amol Mudras is the co-founder of Strokes & Ground, a real estate developer based in Lisbon, Portugal)