Sócrates’ New Opportunities programme revived under new name

Former Socialist prime minister José Sócrates’ ambitious training programme for adults who had failed to leave school fully qualified is being revived under a new name at a cost of “around €50 million”.

The idea is to use community funding to extend the current network of training centres from 240 to 300 – with 30 new outlets opening already this year.

Qualifica, as the programme is to be called, will get going in earnest January 2017, with new teachers and hopefully many new pupils.

Said secretary of state for education João Costa: “Around 55% of adults between the ages of 25 and 64 did not complete secondary education.”

With Qualifica in place, the government is hoping to “revert this tendency by 2020”, he added.

The programme will “demand that teachers dedicate 80% of their professional time to the centres”, he said – stressing the full amount of funding required will not be known before September.

Programa Qualifica will not simply be a change of name, said Costa, but a way of “returning the dignity of education to adults” with “greater focus on qualifications” and “greater rigour” in the various centres than there has been in the past.
Costa presented the news yesterday with fellow secretary of state Miguel Cabrita.

Público explains that in its heyday, Sócrates’ Novas Oportunidades scheme had 459 centres up and down the country, but these were cut back to just 240 by the last administration, as funding too was severely reduced.

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