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Youngsters

One in three is simply not happy

Although the number of students in higher education has expanded over the last decades, strong social inequalities – in terms of access and dropout rates – persist in Portugal. Even after graduation, the poorest students continue to face a greater risk of unemployment.


These are the main conclusions of the study National and international students in access to higher education carried out by the Belmiro de Azevedo Foundation and published in the daily Público.


Students from a poor socio-economic background are at a disadvantage in accessing higher education and are more likely to attend a polytechnic than a university.

Another alarming finding was that the less favoured the socio-economic context of the students is, the higher the dropout rate. Lack of money is the principal reason here.
Contributions of families to the cost of studies are high in Portugal (32% vs 14% in the average EU member state).


In addition, grants are only awarded to students whose per capita family income is close to the minimum wage. This places many low-income students in a situation of non-eligibility for grants. In fact, last year more than 70% of scholarship applications were not approved.


Another survey amongst youngsters – entitled Young people in Portugal – carried out by the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation and published in the newspaper Expresso, highlights the persistence of low wages and precariousness among Portuguese youth aged 16-34.



Despite the fact that many young people have reached high levels of education, they are profoundly disappointed in finding a secure job with a decent salary. Almost three out of four, receive less than 950 euros per month. A third intend to emigrate. Most still live with their parents and half of those who work, have unstable contracts.
Of the 14% who are unemployed, one in three lost their job during the pandemic.


Psychological well-being is another area on which this survey focuses, with almost one out of four respondents confessing they have been prescribed anxiolytics or antidepressants. Over 15% admit to taking sleeping pills and two out of three feel under considerable social pressure to be successful in their studies or at work.




More than 40% confess to having suffered bullying and/or violence at school, work, or in intimate relationships. Most of these victims are women, a third are men. Roughly half of the Portuguese youngsters consider life to be below their expectations. A third simply say they are not happy!



Enjoy the week                     Aproveite a semana                       (pic Público/sapo)












Population

New research predicts the European population to fall more sharply than previously expected; from 450 million today to 310 million by the end of the century. The reason is a further decline in the fertility rate – the average number of children per woman.

Many variables have an effect of the fertility rate such as marriage age, access to birth control, the right to abortion and education to women. If the rate falls below approximately 2.1, the size of the population starts to fall, as is the case in Portugal, that has a fertility rate of 1.4.
However, with the new estimates of the study, Portugal will see their population further reduce by more than half by 2100.

In 2019 Portugal had a population of 10,3 million, about 280 thousand people less than a decade ago. The 2,7% decrease observed was mainly driven by a decrease in births but the migratory balance ended up attenuating this trend, given the fact that in the last ten years over 400 thousand immigrants entered the country as ‘new citizens’.

Aside from fewer people, the country registers a progressively older population, verifiable by the fact that only the group of people over 65 years of age increased between 2009 and 2019. In fact, Portugal is – after Italy and Greece –  the third most aged EU country with the lowest percentage of young people. More than 20% of the Portuguese is over 65 and only 14% less than 15 years of age. There are now 163 elderly people for every 100 young ones.

About 52% of the population over 15 years has no more than basic education; the lowest percentage in Europe! In contrast, the percentage of people with secondary or higher education increased in the last decade to 33%. Though in 2019 still, 6% of the population over 15 years of age has no schooling whatsoever.

A WHO study of youngsters done before the corona epidemic revealed that Portuguese teenagers are more home-keeping than European and like less school. Only 9,5% of them say they like to go there. If performed now the survey might show surprising results as the pandemic seems to have improved the relationship between adolescents and schools, according to Tânia Gaspar, a psychologist and one of the researchers of the study. ‘Youngsters are more responsible now and closer to their teachers, who had to reinvent work methods – such as technologies – that were already familiar to their students.’

Stay healthy                          Fique saudavel             (pic público/sapo)
















Obituary

Empowerment his aim
Education his weapon
Africa his battleground

Bernard Groosjohan, dean medical school, Beira, Moçambique.

Rest In Peace – a luta continua.