Essence and identity in polytechnic higher education in Portugal: from the basic law on the educational system to the Bologna Declaration

  • Cláudia Urbano


The words university and higher education are often used indiscriminately. But Portugal has a two-pronged higher education system: universities and polytechnics have followed different ways. However, certain educational policies have produced a convergence in the direction of these subsystems, not in their policy and their missions — because they reflect different educational objectives — but in the trends associated with the supply of and demand for higher education. This can be the indicator of a change in social representations and cultural models with regard to these subsystems and, especially, the polytechnic subsystem, where more changes have occurred. It is our purpose to contribute to an enrichment of the state-of-the-art information on higher education and, specifically, polytechnic education in Portugal.