Today we had a highly insightful visit to ‘Intercultural Association Mobility Friends’, an organisation of 35 people and annually have approximately 6,500 visitors. We learned about the educational system in Portugal and noted many similarities between Ireland and Portugal, primarily the focus on the holistic development of students/adults in education.
Similarities include a type of points system in order to determine the value of the Leaving Certificate (Media in Portugal), however in Ireland, we have access to FETAC and other courses, so students are not obliged to attend university. This is in contrast to Portugal, where students have less opportunities if they do not attend university. Another similarity is the focus on vocational training and skill development, which is fundamental to holistic development.
We were informed about ‘Portugal 2020’, which is their present partnership programme between Portugal and the European Commission. The focus of this programme is based upon life-long learning, which focuses on the social, cultural, physical and educational development of students.
Finally, we received a presentation on ‘Mobility Friends’, and the work that they do in Barcelos. They provide opportunities for people to job-shadow other people from the same profession, in order to enhance their own personal and professional development.
Later this evening, we are visiting a local secondary school. We are looking forward to that!