Half of Lisbon Câmara staff left school before age 16

A SHOCKING report into the educational standards of Lisbon Câmara staff reveals that 50 per cent of its employees left school before the age of 16. A large proportion quit school between the ages of 12 and 14 without gaining any secondary school qualifications.

The damning evidence follows hard on the heels of a similar report last year, in which President Jorge Sampaio expressed concern that 30 per cent of Portuguese leave school without qualifications.

Now, Lisbon Câmara hopes to change the situation for the better through a training programme for around 1,000 employees. According to the Câmara, from a total of 9,586 employees, 4,433 (46 per cent) do not have the basic ninth grade completion certificate for 14-year-olds. Many of these employees are cleaners, mechanics, rubbish collectors and educational auxiliaries.

In 2002, Lisbon Câmara launched its education project and training for adults for those employees wanting to raise their educational standards. It has so far helped nearly 300 staff get their ninth grade certificates. Last week, Lisbon Câmara President, Carmona Rodrigues, handed out certificates to 103 employees who had successfully participated in the project, which currently has 954 staff enrolled. Under the scheme, employees can take equivalent school certificates for the fourth, sixth and ninth grades.