23 SES 04 C, Adult Education
Portugal is known to be the developed country in which formal educational levels are lower. This fact contributes to a situation in which Portugal is one of the least developed of the developed countries. The Portuguese problems regarding education existed since the beginning of Portuguese history. Traditionally, the Portuguese educated people were an elite. The only ways to get an education were through emigration or through informal learning (Tomé 2007).
Things began to change when Portugal became a democracy, in 1974, and even changed more when the country became a member of the EEC in 1986. Finally, the globalization, put a definitive pressure in the qualification of the Portuguese labor force.
In this context the level of Portuguese investment raised through the years, and is well documented. Also, the level of performance of the Portuguese economy augmented. Furthermore, it is well known that in Portugal the investment in education generates benefits in the wage levels and in the employability levels of the involved.
However, the bulk of the Portuguese educative policy has been centered in the young people (meaning persons with 25 or at most 30 years of age). Whereas in fact those persons are the already more qualified ones, and the persons that really need the public support are old workers. These old workers (with 45 or more year of age and with very low educational grades or professional qualifications) find it very difficult to get a new job when they lost their actual job. Indeed in the last two years the level of long run employed people grew twofold. In that number the larger part where old and not educated persons. Those persons are still healthy and with a very long time span in from of them, but are becoming economically useless.
After many years of hesitation the Portuguese government put in place in the last years two types of policies which envisage the speedy qualification of the old persons in the Portuguese labor force. The first policy was the possibility, (as a part of the European Bologna Process), of any worker have access to the University if he/she had more than 23 years of age, regardless of the anterior completion of the secondary studies. That policy measure intended to increase massively the number of old workers with University qualifications in the Portuguese labor force. The second policy was the possibility of accreditation of first degree (nine years) or secondary degree (twelve years) for older works, in the scope of the “New Opportunities” (Novas Oportunidades) program. Again the idea was to increase speedy the academic levels of the labor force, and therefore to increase the level of income of the country. In both cases the number of persons that actually were admitted in both the +23 section of universities and in the New Opportunities program were very high.
However the economic analysis of both policies remains to be made. It is that analysis that we intend to begin in this paper.
Ashton D., Green F (1996) Education, Training and the Global Economy Edward Elgar; Cambridge UK; pp 100-4. Becker, G. (1993) Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education. University of Chicago Press. Schultz, T. W. (1961). Investment in Human Capital. The American Economic Review 1(2), 1-17. Tomé E. (2007b) IC and KM in a Macroeconomic Perspective: the Portuguese Case. International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital.
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