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Portugal/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education  

8.3.1 Institutional overview

A number of specific programmes have promoted art in schools, with a view to making younger children aware of the objects and purposes of art, namely:

  • the national competition "My School Adopts a Museum" which encourages contact between schools and museums belonging to the National Museum Network by means of a collaboration agreement between the Ministry of Education (DGIDC) and the Ministry of Culture (former IPM);
  • the "Art in Schools" project seeks to encourage direct contact between artists / creators and students at all levels. It provides support for three artists to work in schools. These artists (from several areas including visual arts and literature) are both specialist teachers and project partners;
  • the Cinemateca Júnior project, launched in 2007 under a joint DGIDC and The Portuguese Film Archive - Film Museum agreement; aims to involve the educational community (teachers and pupils from pre-school to secondary school levels); and
  • the National Reading Plan (PNL), launched in 2006, is a government initiative, under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, jointly with the Ministry of Culture and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs (Council of Ministries Resolution n 86/2006). PNL is a response to the concern regarding the literacy levels of the population in general, especially that of young people, which is significantly lower than the European average. It is implemented through a set of strategies aimed at promoting the development of skills in reading and writing, as well as the broadening and deepening of reading habits, especially among school populations.

As far as art teaching is concerned:

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education (MCTES) is the government body in charge of art teaching in higher education. Courses available are both public and private, and are mainly in the musical field. There are far fewer courses in theatre, visual arts and dance. If one looks at the supply of continuing higher education, the supply of courses is even more limited. 

The Ministry of Education has commissioned a report on the specialised and vocational teaching of art in Portugal. This report argues for a complete and comprehensive reorganisation, especially in the fields of music and dance, at a practical level, in order to increase the number of places available to applicants. It suggests suspending the new curriculum rules for specialist art courses in secondary education, in the fields of dance, music and theatre, due to be implemented for the 2007-2008 school year, in order to provide the means to plug existing gaps; and it also suggest changes in the number of hours dedicated to certain types of content.

Chapter published: 14-07-2011

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