Court of Auditors points out flaws in Government policies in combating school dropout


A report by the Court of Auditors (TC) released this Friday points out deficiencies and weaknesses to various public policies in the area of ​​Education that compromise its effectiveness, namely with regard to combating school dropouts and increasing the population’s qualifications. Lack of detailed strategic plans, lack of definition of objectives and inadequate management systems and lack of reliable information in a timely manner are some of the gaps identified.

In the report entitled “Demography and Education”, the TC makes a cross-sectional analysis of several audits carried out in the last two years on different policies in the area of ​​Education, from the fight against school dropouts to autonomy contracts, through the free school manuals, through distance learning or by funding higher education, for example. The objective is “to present an overview of potential risks to be taken into account in the design, execution, monitoring and evaluation” of these policies.

“The audit reports show the ineffectiveness, or the impossibility of assessing the effectiveness, of the measures of public education policies, due to weaknesses related, above all, to their design, execution, monitoring and control”, refers the document.

With regard to the combating school dropout, for example, “there is no central monitoring system that allows for their full knowledge and the timely signaling of situations of risk of dropout”, which prevents a greater effectiveness of interventions. There is, from the outset, “a concept of precise and uniform abandonment, which is critical for its measurement and monitoring”, stresses the TC.

Furthermore, “there are not always indicators and those that do have insufficiencies and deficiencies”. For example, the Early Dropout Rate in primary and secondary education “does not reveal the level of education at which dropout occurred, it does not allow us to assess the progress achieved or identify the main difficulties”. In the same way, “the Retention and Dropping Rate is only levied on students enrolled in a given academic year and does not provide information on their path”, says the Court of Auditors.

At the level of autonomy contracts established with schools, “75% of objectives were incorrectly formulated presenting an ambiguous definition, lack of measurability and goal setting”. On the other hand, the control system “was inadequate and ineffective”, since the “reports had deficiencies that limited the monitoring of compliance with the objectives”, the monitoring committees established by law with representatives of schools, parents were not constituted. and guardians, and the inspection “did not produce relevant impacts”, summarizes the TC.

The lack of a strategic plan to replace the digital media acquired to operationalize distance learning during the pandemic, with an indication of the estimated costs and sources of financing, is another of the gaps pointed out.

Education to mitigate negative effects of demography

At the level of higher education, the report states that “the measures to increase the number of graduates are diverse, funding sources are fragmented and involve several entities, but they are not integrated into a comprehensive and articulated strategy., which limits the effectiveness and efficiency of public investment in the medium and long term.”

In this panoramic report, the Court of Auditors underlines that public policies in the area of ​​Education “are essential to act to mitigate the negative impacts of demography by increasing the population’s qualifications to combat the drop in productivity”.

The demographic crisis, translated into a decrease in the population, particularly in the active population, in progressive aging and in negative or weakly positive migratory balances, threatens the country’s productivity and economic growth, and has to be compensated with an increase in qualification of the Portuguese.

There is “a causal relationship between the level of the population in terms of education and the country’s economic growth and development”, given that “more and better education leads to greater productivity, as well as positive results in relation to employment and wage levels, better health, less crime, greater social cohesion, reduction of public and social costs and social behaviors with value for them and for society”, stresses the TC.

The demographic decline is reflected in the decrease in the number of students. Between 2011 and 2020, the number of enrollments at all levels of education dropped from 1.9 million to just 1.6 million (-17.1%).

Despite the continuous improvement registered in the last decades, the qualification of the population in 2020 was still low, with 20% with the 3rd cycle of basic education (9th year) and 21% with higher education. And the forecast is not encouraging: only in 2045 the Portuguese population aged 55-64 (corresponding to the 25-34 age group in 2015) will have a level of secondary education similar to that which, for example, Germany had in 1992, “which represents a time difference of more than 50 years”.


Source: Expresso by expresso.pt.

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