Prime Minister António Costa travelled to the Algarve on Friday (December 17) to unveil the €6.5 million revamp of Quarteira’s D. Dinis school – described by the local council as one of the most “significant investments” ever made in the Algarve in terms of education infrastructure.
The school is now at the “forefront of technology” with new interactive boards and an increased focus on renewable energy, with solar panels powering classrooms’ air conditioning units.
Major renovations were also carried out on all the school’s facilities, which Loulé Mayor Vítor Aleixo admitted were “seriously rundown”.
“The school did not provide adequate working conditions for teachers, and children needed a good school environment in order to enjoy a successful education,” the mayor said.
The school’s multicultural environment – around 600 students of 52 different nationalities – was also considered during the revamp, highlighted school director Manuel Nora.
Efforts were made to create a new “bilingual identity”, with all information signs in Portuguese and English, and to bolster the school’s “project to teach English”.
The revamp also strived to make the school more inclusive and emphasis was given to projects such as animal-assisted reading and greater support of special needs children.
Also in attendance, Education Minister Tiago Brandão Rodrigues said D. Dinis is an “inclusive school, where citizenship is absolutely fundamental and where nothing is done without thinking about the community”.
Meanwhile, PM António Costa spoke about the “three fundamental pillars of the government’s educational policy” which are followed at the school.
He highlighted “the autonomy of schools” – in other words, the ability of each school to organise and manage itself, mobilise resources and integrate within the community – the “flexible curriculum” and “decentralisation”, which has allowed councils to have more input in local education systems.