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Decree Law No. 55/2018

Publication: Republic Diary No. 129/2018, Series I of 2018-07-06
  • Issuer: Presidency of the Council of Ministers
  • Diploma Type: Decree Law
  • Number: 55/2018
  • Pages: 2928 - 2943

Summary in plain english

What is it?

This decree-law defines a new programme for basic and secondary education and establishes rules that will give schools more autonomy to make decisions that will help students achieve the skill set in the Student Profile for Compulsory Education.

The Student Profile for Compulsory Education defines the skill that students should achieve by the end of the 12th grade. It is the common guide for schools to organise their planning, teaching, learning and evaluation.

The rules in this decree-law will apply to:

  • all elementary schools
  • all secondary schools
  • all vocational schools
  • distance learning (individual home schooling with necessary adaptations).
What will change?

1. There will be greater autonomy for schools to:

  • manage up to 25% of the school programme timetable by school year, to ensure the development of Essential Learning and the skill set in the Student Profile for Compulsory Education
  • establish Citizenship and Development, according to the National Strategy for Citizenship Education
  • decide on necessary support for studying and artistic education (2nd cycle)
  • create areas of curricular autonomy by combining subjects
  • integrate school projects into the curriculum
  • alternate one subject periods with multiple subject periods
  • develop practical or experimental work by splitting classes or other organising them another way
  • organize how subjects are run (by terms or some other way)
  • enable secondary school students to change subjects in order to create their own educational career.

Essential Learning is the knowledge, skills and attitudes the school decides students must obtain and develop in each school year that can be further developed, reinforced and enriched.

2. Physical Education will start counting towards the secondary education’s final grade.

3. Students from arts courses and professional courses, who at the end of their course had to take the scientific-humanistic national exams in order to apply for higher education, will no longer have to do so. They will now be able to apply by taking the exams of specific subjects required for each course.

4. The Ministry of Education will now support and monitor the work of schools through monitoring and assessment teams to ensure the application of this decree-law.

5. School certificates and diplomas can now be issued by the schools in digital format.

What are its benefits?

Schools will now have more freedom to run their school programme and can:

  • adapt the programme to specific contexts and the needs of students
  • promote quality learning for everyone.

Conditions will be created for all students to gain the knowledge and abilities required for the Student Profile for Compulsory Education.

When does it come into effect?

This decree-law comes into effect at the beginning of the 2018/2019 school year, for the following grades:

  • 1st, 5th, 7th and 10th grades
  • 2nd, 6th, 8th and 11th grades, in the classes covered by the autonomy and flexibility project of the 2017/2018 school year.

Students attending other grades will be covered by the new rules when they reach one of the grades mentioned above.

Original Version


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Legislative consolidation integrates the various amendments and rectifications made into an original legal diploma in order to make its consultation more accessible to the citizen.