The PEPIP project – “Profile of PALOP Students in Higher Education Institutions in Portugal: characterisation, expectations, constraints (2015-2021)” – presented a report in 2023 in which it outlined the main difficulties that students from Portuguese-speaking countries face in accessing and travelling through higher education, as well as some actions for improvement.

The aim of the project was to map and characterise PALOP students at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Portugal between 2015 and 2021 and their integration within the institutions. This week, some national media presented some of the study’s conclusions, as well as the actions suggested by the research team to remedy the difficulties experienced.

Among the conclusions, the positive evolution in the mobility of PALOP students to Portugal stands out, with special growth in the number of students from Guinea-Bissau and the greater prevalence of PALOP students in polytechnic education, with the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança being the institution that receives the most PALOP students. As far as scientific areas are concerned, “business sciences and administration” is the preferred course for all PALOP students, with no significant differences between males and females.

Among the recommendations presented in the report, the media highlighted the possibility of requiring students from special schemes who have not taken exams in Portugal to attend a preparation and integration semester or a zero year. African students “don’t lack skills in academic terms, but they find it very difficult to integrate, they don’t know the subjects, they don’t know the teaching methods and they often have language difficulties”, a situation to which “economic difficulties are often added”, explained researcher and coordinator Clara Carvalho, in an interview with the Público newspaper.

This project was funded by the Camões Institute and coordinated by Clara Carvalho, from CEI-Iscte, in partnership with researchers Antónia Barreto and Filipe Santos, from IP Leiria, Rui da Silva CEAUP and Isaiete Jabula, a PhD student at CEI-Iscte.

The final report is available here.