UNESCO specialist ranks Portugal’s education “among Rolls Royce of the world”

Quality of Portugal’s education system “among world’s 40 best”, says Amapola Alama

A UNESCO specialist in educational curricula has come up with a statement that will leave most Portuguese parents absolutely speechless.

Amapola Alama – a specialist with 30 years experience in supporting countries through educational reform – has said Portugal’s education system is “the Rolls Royce” of the world.

Talking to an audience of 800 school directors and other experts at the 2nd National Meeting of Curricular Autonomy and Flexibility taking place in Europarque, Santa Maria da Feira, this morning, Ms Alama said: “You are the Rolls Royce of systems of education. You are among the 40 countries at the top of the world of education…”

The curriculum “is the driving force of an education system and shapes the vision that a country has for its education”, she extolled. It establishes the “what, how and the for whom” of all levels of the process, both at technical and political level. And in many countries it is not adhered to, she explained: curricula that have changed to ‘competency based models’ still find teachers only evaluating pupils for what they learn by rote…

Portugal’s ‘model of education’, she continued, follows that of the UNESCO social mission – underway since 2015 – working towards objectives of ‘equity and equality’ – not with separated programmes, but “a unique agenda”.

Ms Alama pronounced herself inspired by the “marvellous words” of the national meeting: “Curricular autonomy and flexibility demand a lot of all parts involved, but also have the power to really innovate and transform”, she said.

SIC television news has carried this story today, with no mention of the endless difficulties faced by schools; particularly the chronic lack of teachers. An ambitious curriculum cannot hope to succeed unless there are the human resources to carry it forwards.

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