In contrast to the dire news that only two first-time teachers were placed in Portugal this year, the University of the Algarve (UAlg) has celebrated a 19% boost in student numbers this year.
Described as the “largest university student boom in Portugal”, data shows that the number of students placed at UAlg reached 1,120 this year, as opposed to 942 in 2014.
The number of unfilled places on UAlg courses also dropped, from the 481 in 2014 to 270 this year, while the number of “totally-booked” courses has grown from 12 to 24.
In all, data shows that 82% of the university’s places have been filled, as opposed to 66% last year.
Portugal has also seen more students placed on a national basis (+11.4%), reports data from the directorate-general of higher education (DGES).
A total of 42,068 students will begin university for the first time this year, as opposed to 37,778 in 2014.
“The increase is positive. The Portuguese economy needs more people in university,” said António Cunha, the head of the Portuguese council of university rectors (CRUP).
The educational decline that had seen university students decreasing in numbers over recent years had been “worrying,” he said, particularly as it isn’t a problem to have “a lot of people with university degrees, as some people suggest”.
Further data shows that out of all the university hopefuls who applied for a place in Portugal, 87.1% found one – but only 50.5% succeeded in joining the course they had named as their first choice.