Schools to open on same day next year.jpg

Schools to open on same day next year

RULE changes are being considered to ensure that schools in Portugal open on the same day next year.

This follows the controversy this month, at the beginning of the school year, when just 15 per cent of state schools opened on the first day of term.

The Minister for Education, Maria de Lurdes Rodrigues, said: “We have to think about this next year. The arrangements for this year have already been put into practice, but, in the future, we have to think of other solutions.” She was responding to criticism from Parents Associations, which were well publicised in the media.

This September, as in previous years, (see front page article in last week’s edition of The Resident), schools were given a one week period in which to open their gates to pupils and begin lessons, but the majority of schools only opened on September 15, the last possible day within the deadline.

This meant that most children were given an extra week of holiday, which many parents found unacceptable.

Parents were up in arms, not only due to the fact that their children are missing out on lessons, but also because of the expense of arranging extended childcare so that those who work can return to their jobs.

In another government move, thought to be aimed at motivating teachers to re-commence lessons on time and to boost the quality of teaching, Prime Minister José Sócrates has announced the creation of a national awards scheme for teachers.

The awards will be given to teachers that demonstrate the greatest diligence and capacity for innovation. The criteria and rules for the awards scheme are being developed and it has been stated that the best teacher from each learning stage (primary, junior, secondary and so on), on a national level, will be awarded with a cash prize at the end of each academic year.

A commission to judge the candidates is being set up comprising of respected professionals from the field of education.