Education International
Education International

Portugal: Educators bring attention to unacceptable work conditions

published 6 July 2015 updated 6 July 2015

Thousands of educators and researchers came together in the streets of Lisbon for a national demonstration in defence of teacher professionalism and its connection to education quality.

In the past four years, Portugal’s Legislative, the Assembly of the Republic, has reduced education funding by over 3,2 billion euros, resulting in public schools losing more than 20% of their teaching staff. The remaining educators have been left with deteriorating work conditions; specifically, an unbearable work schedule and the assigning of tasks unrelated to their position. Teacher training was also a significant focus since it has been increasingly neglected by the current government.

Teachers’ importance for society’s future

“Teachers are fundamental elements in schools,” said Mário Nogueira, Secretary General of the Federação Nacional dos Professores(FENPROF), an EI affiliate.  He later describes the societal role of teacher as, “crucial” and connected to the success of every school. Nogueira deplored, adding: “We cannot stand idly by! In this sea of difficulties and attacks, we are all in the same boat.”

The Trade Union Platform, created by a cumulative effort of eight trade unions, recently published a document highlighting that, “parents entrust their children to teacher for much of the day, counting on them to them their children and also contribute to their education.” However, these positive interactions are nearly impossible with the current teaching climate and lack of teacher professionalism.