9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN10 Sociology of Education

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Higher Education I Building I, 2E6

The changes in educational policies and its effects on higher education market in Portugal

Duality characterizes the Portuguese higher education system. Universities and Polytechnical Institutes have different statuses in the higher education system and therefore in society. With the Bologna Process, Europe tries to homogenise educational systems. How can Portugal manage to do it if, internally, there are differences in the attractiveness of both subsystems? The main focus of our research has been the polytechnical higher education, which is the less socially valued subsystem. However, at the start of the 21st century, just before the beginning of the Bologna Process in Portugal, this subsystem won some notoriety in the Portuguese higher education scenario. The normative field is not the same: laws concerning higher education have changed in Portugal in the 90s and the graduation is now more balanced between the two subsystems - polytechnical and university - with the end of the exclusivity of the licenciate degree by the university subsystem. In this period of change, it is also visible an effect on demand for higher education and in particular for polytechnical education. Will the demand trends change, now that both subsystems will offer similar first and second cycle diplomas with the Bologna Process?
These changes have also opened the door to other cohorts than the traditional, with the possibility of ingress by a special regime to the over than 23 years old candidates, created in order to increase the percentage of graduated population. Possessing different social characteristics from those of the traditional cohort, how will higher education adapt to these new students? Will it achieve unity in difference? Trying to accomplish European goals, in order to increase graduate population, how will higher education answer to even more missions than those it traditionally had? The divergence in union could be, in a future, the union in difference? These are some of the questions concerning national education systems that we will try to debate. In order to do that, we┬┤ll analyse offer and demand of polytechnical and university subsystems, in the last two decades, a period of significant changes in Portuguese educational policies.