Americans buy up Portuguese universities

In a week when an EU-funded study highlights six Portuguese universities among “the best in the world”, US group Laureate has announced that it is buying up two further national seats of learning. Following its acquisition of Lisbon’s European University, it now has its sights on Porto’s IPAM (institute of marketing) and Lisbon’s famous IADE art and design school. How much Laureate has paid for the deal has not been revealed.

But Público points out that since purchasing the European University, the group has ploughed at least €20 million into “reinforcing its presence on national territory”.

According to Laureate’s CEO for Portugal and Spain Nélson de Brito, the “objective is to contribute to reconfigurating higher education in Portugal” at a “time when demand in the sector is stagnant”.

Laureate’s masterplan is to attract overseas students. The company is now the largest provider of private higher education in the world, owning over 80 institutions.

As Santos de Brito told reporters, IADE and IPAM are both “pioneers” in their fields and thus the perfect feathers for Laureate’s Iberian cap.

Coincidentally, as this news warmed the private education sector, another European study has revealed that one in three university students drop out of their courses due to lack of sufficient support.

“Modernisation of higher education in Europe: Access, Retention and Employability” analysed 34 education systems in Europe and considered that despite the “unacceptable drop-out levels” registered in many countries, “there were very few examples of clear national strategies” to tackle the problem and that “few member states have developed policies that focus on the concrete problems of their students”.

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