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)