Paulina Quintao – The Ministry of Education has conducted Portuguese language testing for pre-school, secondary and vocational school teachers to assess their ability.
Director of the National Institute for Training of Teachers and Education Professionals (INFORDEPE) Deolindo da Cruz said the lack of proficiency in Portuguese language was major problem, even though the government had allocated significant funding for a training program.
The results will be used to determine the level of teachers and to develop a Portuguese course manual. "We will put them in separate levels – basic with [other] basic and advanced [speakers] with advanced," he said.
Da Cruz said the training program implemented a few years ago had been ineffective as teachers had not been classified according to their level.
The latest exam involved 1,410 teachers and was the second time they had been tested. The first examination was held in 2015 and involved 12,344 teachers. Da Cruz said both the first and second examinations showed that teachers were mostly at the basic level.
Teacher Manuel Verdial said it was important that the government make a more effective plan for teacher training. To ensure funding wasn't wasted, he said the government should allocate a clear amount in the budget to the teacher training program to help develop quality and improve school standards.
Meanwhile, President of Commission F (responsible for health, education, culture, veteran affairs and gender equality) MP Virgilio da Costa Hornai acknowledged that Portuguese language was a major obstacle for teachers.
"We want Portuguese in every school, but our teachers are not able to speak Portuguese, [so] how they can deliver this knowledge to the students?" he said. "Not being able to speak Portuguese means that [teachers] have not mastered the knowledge."
He said the national training program remained inadequate and therefore urged the government to increase language skills in schools by providing scholarships to new teachers.