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Short-Cycle under discussion in P.PORTO


The Peer Learning Activity on Short-Cycle Higher Education (SCHE), promoted by EURASHE, was held on September 19th and 20th at Polytechnic of Porto.

"A unique opportunity to discuss and share experiences on the reality of Short Cycles." This is how João Rocha, President of the Porto Polytechnic, opened the debate promoted by EURASHE, European Association of Higher Education Institutions, on the theme Short-Cycle Higher Education (SCHE).

This partnership with Polytechnic of Porto, the Council of Portuguese Polytechnics (CCISP) and the Portugal Ministry of Higher Education and Science (MCTES) took place at P.PORTO, on the 19th and 20th of September 2019, attended by the State Secretary  for Higher Education and Science, João Sobrinho Teixeira, the Director-General for Higher Education, João Queiroz, Pedro Dominguinhos, CCISP President, Michal Karpíšek, EURASHE Secretary-General, among other similar national and international entities.

Short-Cycles or, as designated in Portugal, Professional Technical Courses (CTeSP) have acquired increasing importance in the qualification of the country, being a success story in the Portuguese Polytechnics. For Pedro Dominguinhos, "these strongly applied training programs, geared not only to employability but also to lifelong education and access to higher education, are an asset and an increase in the formation of the population" - declares, adding - "we are creating opportunities in society ". The CCISP President gave as an example the case of the Polytechnic of Porto, which greatly increased the number of CTeSP in its training offer.

From the governmental point of view João Sobrinho Teixeira also defends the relevance of these courses in a higher qualification of the population. For the Secretary of State it is imperative to support and implement innovation within the CTeSP, ending with elitist views on higher education: "the world is cumulative, and we are [with these courses] adding skills, promoting social equality, social migrations, business connection, and employability ". The debate allowed us to understand the growing importance of these cycles, not only in the national context but above all in the international context.

Michal Karpíšek gave an overview of the European context and the contribution of short-term courses to our own perception of future higher education institutions: "The paradigm has changed. Our view of higher education institutions today has changed and concepts like inclusion, flexibility, innovation, diversity, education for all - and throughout life - have become some of the keywords associated with higher education. "

For the EURASHE representative, the current labor market requires transversal qualifications, which combine practical and academic skills, articulating this idea with the vision of the Association, whose mission is to promote the interests of European higher vocational education.

Michal Karpíšek also identifies many resistances in the certification of the courses, in the recognition of Bologna or even in the positioning of a proper identity profile. The debate was also an opportunity to get to know and compare the Portuguese panorama (exposed by the Director-General of Higher Education, João Queiroz), with the Irish and Slovenian example, contexts where these courses have been under different pressure and recognition.