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ERIC Number: EJ841093
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 1
ISSN: ISSN-1038-2046
Emerging Models of Teacher Training: The Case of Portugal
Alexandre, Fernando; Ferreira, Manuela; Miranda, Branca
International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, v13 n2 p184-189 2004
The structural reforms of geography teacher training in Portugal have been justified by the global evolution of the educational system and took into account: (1) the political will to extend the period of compulsory schooling, which now covers the whole of lower secondary education, but will soon cover upper secondary education as well; (2) the inclusion of a growing proportion of pupils whose composition is socially, ethnically and culturally diversified; (3) the rising "massification" of higher education, which has led to measures that have altered the branches of study, as well as the types of courses on offer, namely in Higher Schools of Education and private universities. Nevertheless, the number of students is now decreasing in both lower and upper secondary education (data from 2002/2003 point to a reduction of 2.6% and 5.0% respectively), which are precisely the school levels for which geography is an important curriculum subject. Thus, the evolution of schools' demographic indicators is already causing a surplus in the whole supply of teachers for many curricular subjects and will surely affect geography teachers in a similar way. As a response to such conditions, major policy changes were recently introduced in recruitment methods, which make it difficult for newly qualified teachers to apply for a school place and secure permanent tenure. Regarding the Portuguese conditions, it seems important to emphasise the following: (1) It is highly likely that reforms in the years ahead will affect the actual structure of geography courses, due to changes that will happen in higher education because of the joint declarations of European education ministers at Bologna (1999), and its follow-up in Prague (2001). On the other hand, they will almost certainly be concerned with course content, and place emphasis on the acquisition of specific skills; and (2) Reforms in Portugal are geared to making some form of specifically professional training compulsory and/or to increasing the share of professional training within training as a whole; yet, it seems that training has clearly been transferred to a university setting, subsequently enhancing an academic dimension, which might come to assume greater importance than professional training as such. This trend is partly attributable to traditional values associated with a university education, but also to the considerable autonomy granted to institutions with university status. Whether or not to limit the number of places of entry to initial training is a matter for the public authorities. The analysis clearly indicates that Portugal, facing an obvious surplus of teachers, has decided to limit the number of places available for initial training and, more generally, for tertiary education. That decision is already affecting candidates in different fields of knowledge and is going to have an effect on the supply of geography teachers as well.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Portugal