The Lisbon Academic Association (AAL) is advocating on behalf of Lisbon students for the sake of increased funding for higher education and proposing changes to expand scholarship opportunities, provide more social support for university canteens, and ensure affordable housing options for students. As the new academic year approaches, AAL’s president, Diogo Martinho Henriques, representing approximately 100,000 students in Greater Lisbon, emphasized the necessity of reforming the funding system for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to cater to student needs.
Henriques stated, “Our education system cannot remain neglected in our society since it is through this system that our country grows and develops,” highlighting the importance of prioritizing education. AAL identified several critical issues, including insufficient teaching materials, infrastructural problems, inadequate investment in research, and a lack of support for growing mental health concerns.
To address these issues, AAL presented various proposals. The primary measure involves revising the eligibility criteria for scholarships in higher education, taking into account the students’ realities to increase the number of eligible individuals and reduce inequalities. Henriques also called for increased funding for HEIs and emphasized the importance of the National Plan for Accommodation in Higher Education to ensure equal access to education. AAL further advocated for promoting pedagogical innovation and development programs, allowing investment in infrastructure renovation and the acquisition of educational resources.
AAL criticized successive governments for underfunding higher education, noting that funding had only increased by 17% over the past decade, which is below the inflation rate. Concurrently, the government announced a total of 75,676 available spots for higher education courses this year, including places for students aged 23 and above.
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