Global Education | Portugal

GE Definition
Portugal has been working on Development Education (DE) for over 30 years, mostly under the efforts of a network of NGO’s, which also frequently operate in the area of development cooperation.

On March 23rd, 1985, the Portuguese NGDO’s (Non-Governmental Development Organizations) Platform was officially created (, by a group of 13 non-governmental organizations, formed by distinct associations that shared the desire to work in the cooperation area. Currently, there are 15 member organizations which gather every month to discuss DE issues, share experiences and organize events in order to increase the role of DE at the national level.

In 2009/2010 this Working Group also played an important role in the creation of the National Development Strategy (ENED), which produced a reference frame for civil society and state organizations working in the field of DE.

The following highlights some of the steps that were taken in the Portuguese Global Education Sector:

  • 2004 – The Portuguese Institute of Cooperation joins GENE (Global Education Network Europe)
  • 2006 – 2008 Austrian Interchange – Portugal within the scope of GENE
  • 2008 – the process of drafting the National Strategy for Development Education (ENED) began
  • 2009 – Publication in the Portuguese Republican Diary joint dispatch that approved ENED
  • 2010 – Signing of the ENED Protocol and underwriting of the Action Plan
  • 2014 – Portuguese Cooperation Strategic Concept (2014 to 2020) recognizes DE as a fundamental area of development policies
  • 2014 – The European Global Education Peer Review Process – National Report on Portugal

According to GENE and the Peer Review Process the term “Global Education” (GE) is

…  education that opens people’s eyes and minds to the realities of the world, and awakens them to bring about a world of greater justice, equity and human rights for all. Global Education is understood to encompass Development Education, Human Rights Education, Education for Sustainability, Education for Peace and Conflict Prevention and Intercultural Education; being the global dimensions of Education for Citizenship.
The Maastricht Declaration (2003)

 In Portugal, defining DE was challenging, but ENED considers that the following were good starting points: the definition from the Portuguese NGDO Platform (2002), the contributions from the “A Strategic Vision for Portuguese Cooperation” document (2005) and the outlook released by the “European Consensus on Development” in 2007.

Therefore, Portugal uses the term Development Education, which is defined as:
…an ongoing educational process that favours social, cultural, political and economic inter-relationships between the North and the South, promoting the values and attitudes of solidarity and justice that should characterise responsible global citizenship. It is, in itself, an active process of learning that aims to raise awareness and mobilise society to the priorities of sustainable human development.
Camões – Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua (2016)

According to ENED, the consensus contributed towards:

  • The general definition as a learning process (educational dimension);
  • Thought and action underlying principles: solidarity, equity, justice, inclusion (ethical dimension);
  • The mobilizing goal: DE is aimed at social transformation, based on an ongoing critical self-reflection, able to disassemble power and hegemonic relations (political dimension).

The National Strategy for Development Education
In Portugal, the growing recognition of the importance of DE has been embodied in the National Strategy for Development Education, which constitutes a fundamental reference document for interventions in the field, with the following overall aim: the promotion of global citizenship through learning processes and by raising awareness of development related issues among Portuguese society and focusing on actions leading to social change.

The report on Global Education in Portugal published by GENE, recognized the strong work already developed in the field of formal education, and recommended that those working in formal education should aim at providing DE to all Portuguese students by reviewing the opportunities of integration of DE within all subject areas, because there is potential for more thorough integration of DE into formal education at pre-school, basic and secondary level (2014), with the development of curriculum guidelines.

Following this recommendation, in 2016 the Framework for Development Education aimed at various school levels was approved. This document was elaborated by the Ministry of Education, through the Directorate-General for Education in partnership with Camões – Institute of Cooperation and Language, CIDAC – Intervention Center for Development Amílcar Cabral and Gonçalo da Silveira Foundation. It is now also available in English and includes Development Education pedagogical intervention, dimension of education for citizenship, in addition to a set of descriptors: knowledge, skills, values, attitudes and behaviours that covers the themes of development, interdependence and globalization, poverty and inequalities, social justice, global citizenship and peace.

GE in the Youth Sector
According to Thinking Seriously about Youth Work: and how to prepare people to do it (Council of Europe and European Commission, 2017) despite the fact that there is no formal concept of “youth work” in Portugal, there is a strong momentum, promoted through the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth (IPDJ), for the promotion and development of non-formal education. The practice of “youth work”, which in sum implies a broad range of activities with young people, is made possible because of the dynamic infrastructure that exists in the youth sector which functions across each district of the country. Despite the central co-ordination, there are local and national partnerships, in addition to transversal approaches involving other sectors (housing, health and employment), ministries and organisations at all levels of governance. Youth work is:

very closely tied to the frame(work) of intervention in Non-Formal education, and … the two concepts have come to assert themselves in close connection. Nevertheless, the concept of Non-Formal Education is also still publicly diffuse and little recognised, which constitutes an inseparable challenge for Youth Work affirmation.

(Council of Europe and European Commission, 2017)

Approximately, over the past four years, non-formal education in the planning of activities and strategies for youth development and consolidation has become more centralized, meaning that two particular objectives have informed the work of the IPDJ:

  • the recognition and validation of required and acquired skills;
  • the establishment of a clear understanding of “youth work” and the role of a “youth worker”.

According to Council of Europe and European Commission, despite the fact that Portugal is currently addressing the various themes associated to “Youth Work”, there are no formal measures to define and construct the profession of “Youth Worker”, implying challenges such as: what skills and competences are to be validated, by whom and how?; how to connect and balance volunteerism and professionalization within the field of “youth work”; how to relate non-formal and formal education; forging appropriate links between national initiatives and the European and international level; and considering the education and training methods that may be necessary.

GE Best Practices

The following is a collection of some of the Portuguese national and local experiences that we found relevant:

  • AIDglobal – Action and Integration for Global Development

AIDglobal ( is a Non-Governmental Development Organization founded in 2006 currently developing various projects in Portugal. Its mission is to identify, design and implement strategies and actions that help to alleviate the difficulties of access to education and combat illiteracy in the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), cooperating with local populations and authorities and encouraging the exercise of active citizenship.

“Youth in Politics – To Participate to Global Citizenship” is a project that aims to promote youth voting among the Portuguese population and Global Citizenship among youth political parties, so that issues related to Education for Development are integrated into their programmes of activity.

Educate to Cooperate HRTL and Global Citizenship

Developed since 2006, it’s the oldest project of AIDGLOBAL, the 8th edition ended in October, 2017.

The main aim was to raise awareness on topics and values of Education for Global Citizenship, in articulation with the heritage themes of the Historical Route of the Tower Lines.

It offers pedagogical resources for educators, teachers and technicians from civil society organizations, available for free and can be downloaded at

  • Epralima Best Practices

Presently participates in the educational programme “European Parliament School Ambassador”. The European Parliament Ambassador School Programme aims to create a permanently increasing network of schools, teachers and students that engage with the European Parliament, its Members and the Information Offices. In order to become part of the network, schools carry out teaching activities that raise awareness on European parliamentary democracy and European citizenship values.

The main objectives of this initiative are:

  • to raise awareness about Europe/ European Union and European parliamentary democracy among young people;
  • to provide them with knowledge of the European Union in general and the European Parliament in particular and, above all, the understanding of the importance of voting in the European elections of 2019.

The programme is addressed to teachers and students of secondary schools and aims to encourage young people, secondary and technical education students in particular, to understand their rights as EU citizens, to become familiar with the responsibilities of the European Parliament, its Members and its relationship to national parliaments as well as to understand how they can dynamically participate in shaping public life and the functioning of democracy within the European Union.

At the end of the school season and after the evaluation of the actions, the title “European Parliament-School Ambassador” will be attributed to the selected schools. To this end, a special board will be given by the European Parliament. At the same time, an honorary diploma is awarded to students – EP Ambassadors (Junior Ambassadors), Professors – EP Ambassadors (Senior Ambassadors), as well as a recognition diploma of participation to all other students who took part in the programme.

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