Education in Portugal

Education in Portugal is free and compulsory until the age of 18, when students complete the 12th grade. The education is regulated by the State through the Ministry of Education. There is a system of public education and also many private schools at all levels of education. The first Portuguese medieval universities, such as the University of Coimbra, were created in the 13th century, and the national higher education system is fully integrated into the European Higher Education Area.

The basic literacy rate of the Portuguese population is 95.7% (97.1% male, 94.4% female). According to INE (Portuguese Institute for National Statistics), only 3.7 million Portuguese workers (67% of the working active population) completed basic education (81% of the working population attained the lower basic level of education and 12% attained the intermediate level of education).

According to the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009, the average Portuguese 15-years old student, when rated in terms of reading literacy, mathematics and science knowledge, is placed at the same level as those students from the United States, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, France, Denmark, United Kingdom, Hungary and Taipei, with 489 points (493 is the average). Despite its gradual modernization and relative expansion ince the 1960s, the educational system remained underdeveloped until the 2000s when it finally reached some of the developed world's best practices and trends.

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