Ensino profissional
: entre a proficiência do projeto e a premência de novos impulsos

  • Angelina Cláudia Vaz Alves de Azevedo Presa (Student)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The present study focuses on vocational education, as a dual qualifying training offer in Portuguese secondary education, which despite having more than 32 years of history, since its creation in 1989, still faces, nowadays, dilemmas and challenges that have marked its evolution and demand over time, its acceptance, appreciation, and recognition at political, educational, social, and business levels. Considering the centrality and importance of this training offer it is important to try to understand the repeated failure to meet a political target set for the country of having 50% of young people in secondary education attending qualifying training offers (vocational courses). This target set for 2010 has not been achieved. Redefined for the year 2020 it is still not achieved, despite the political promotion of this education pathway, both in political speeches and in the most recent government programmes. On the way to search for answers to the problem under study, we conducted a content study of the government programmes published until the year 2020, from which we sought to understand and analyse the evolution of vocational education from the point of view of the announced policy measures, identifying five dimensions where we highlight the weak regulation of the governmental political action of the last 44 years regarding the enhancement of vocational education. We proceed with the study of vocational education as a model of educational innovation in Portugal and present a case study on the implementation of the ETHAZI innovation model, adopted in the Basque Country, in a vocational school, from which we seek to highlight that vocational schools themselves, from the inside out, can contribute to enhance this educational modality, attracting young people and families and promoting their success. Finally, we make a diagnostic synthesis of the inconsistencies and weaknesses that may be contributing to the fact that, nowadays, this teaching modality is not yet recognised as equivalent to the scientific-humanistic courses by the different actors of the labour, school, and political worlds. We end with the identification of lines of action in the political world, in the school world and in the labour world that, in our opinion, may reverse the current situation of demand and interest for this way of education. As the problem under study is vast, complex, and multifaceted, with very diversified dimensions of analysis and numerous research paths that could have been adopted, we followed a hermeneutic or interpretive paradigm. This is a qualitative research study, presenting itself as a descriptive naturalistic study, in which we used different methods, namely the small-scale survey and the case study. To this end, we used different data collection tools such as relevant documents of interest to the study, questionnaire surveys and the researcher's diary. We used content analysis and statistical analysis techniques to analyse the data collected. The results obtained were validated by the triangulation of data sources, subjects, and methodological triangulation. The interpretative analysis and synthesis carried out allows us to conclude that we are facing a problem of inconsistency and fragility of the education and training policies, of the theoretical and academic matrix curriculum for the whole training offer at secondary level, of the scholastic devaluation of the vocational offer and of the "disconnection" from the needs of the demand for relevant and pertinent qualifications. We believe that the urgency of new impulses in vocational education should lead the actors of the political world, the working world, and the school world to establish a pact of common action, which will allow to articulate, in terms of needs and interests, the three vertices of the triangle in which we represent schools, young people and families and employers of a given region, for the benefit of the future development of vocational education in Portugal.
Date of Award18 Nov 2022
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorJosé Matias Alves (Supervisor)


  • Public policies
  • Secondary education
  • Vocational education
  • Educational innovation


  • Doutoramento em Ciências da Educação

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