We are thrilled to announce that Teach For Portugal has joined Teach For All, becoming the network’s 49th partner, and the 18th partner in the European region. Driven by its mission to ensure that no child’s potential and future is limited by their socioeconomic background, Teach For Portugal is inspiring the next generation of leaders to contribute to sustainable change in the country. As an independent non-governmental organization—in partnership with the Ministry of Education, local authorities, universities, schools and local communities—Teach For Portugal will recruit and develop outstanding university graduates and young professionals from diverse backgrounds and academic fields to serve in under-resourced communities in Portugal.
Despite positive trends in the last Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA, 2015), educational equity still remains a major challenge in Portugal—the proportion of low achievers among students from disadvantaged contexts is significantly higher than among their more privileged peers.
Portugal also faces high dropout rates and grade repetition. It has the third highest rate of grade repetition in the European Union, with close to one third of 15-year-olds having repeated at least one grade. The figures become more dire when socioeconomic factors are accounted for, with 52% grade repetition among disadvantaged students, and less than 9% among more advantaged students. Given the country’s ageing population, more than 45% of Portugal’s teachers are currently over the age of 50, and will be retiring within the next 15 years. It is therefore fundamental to promote the value of the teaching profession among the younger generations, particularly among a talented pool of mission driven individuals—a point that has been referenced frequently as best practice among many OECD countries.
Co-founded by Pedro Almeida and Maria Azevedo, Teach For Portugal will place its first cohort of participants in September 2019 in some of the country’s highest need urban and rural communities, in the northern region of Portugal. Maria and Pedro themselves have taught students in challenging contexts in India, and Angola, respectively—experiences that had a profound impact on their lives and shaped their understanding of the similarities in the nature of the challenges facing marginalized children in their own society and in countries around the world. After pursuing careers abroad, Maria working in cancer research and Pedro as a strategy consultant, they returned to Portugal, and inspired by the Teach For All network’s shared approach, they started to envision Teach For Portugal in 2015.
Teach For Portugal aims to create a movement of outstanding individuals, who are committed to addressing educational inequity, and capable of transforming the trajectory of all students by working both inside and outside the classroom, and alongside many others, to become leaders of change for the country.
Teach For All is excited to welcome Teach For Portugal to the global network and we look forward to learning from and with its staff, participants, and alumni.