Alexandre Homem Cristo puts his finger on the wound: “If education fails, we all fail”

“Our identity, as part of society, begins in schools,†was one of the phrases with which Alexandre Homem Cristo, Secretary of State for Education, ended his speech. He, in the meantime, assumed that teaching in Portugal is far from perfect. “I still don’t understand why the online enrollment system ‘crashes’ every two days and that is unacceptable…†he said.

And he also admitted that “it is not acceptable for students to arrive in classrooms and not have teachers, that teachers’ efforts are not recognized, that teaching is is deteriorating and it is normal for so many students to fall behind.” The governor wants to turn this situation around and, to do so, asks for the involvement of “everyone: teachers, parents, management†. “If education fails, we all fail. We have to row in the same direction. Bring solutions and we will be here, this is the beginning of a long journey,” he highlighted.

Alexandre Homem Cristo also revealed that he will soon announce, “within 10 to 15 days†, the strategy to reinforce learning, based on the assumption that no one will be left behind. At the conference on “Culture and Identity†there was, above all, a reflection focusing on themes such as inclusion, citizenship, education and social mobility, with the aim of building fairer and more inclusive societies.

The opening speech was given by José Ribau Esteves, president of the Aveiro City Council. And, when he spoke about immigration, he admitted that “a good number of immigrants come looking for a better life, but, for that, they need to be supported, they need social supportâ€. “If this is not the case, there are no conditions. This is the truth,†he said, recognizing the good integration of the immigrant community in the city of Aveiro.

The first round table of the afternoon, on Inclusion and Citizenship, was attended by Teresa Grancho (councilwoman and president of the Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People of Aveiro) and José Pina (coordinator Aveiro 2024), followed by the recording of the podcast “Bloco Central†, with Paulo Baldaia (Expresso journalist), Pedro Marques Lopes (SIC commentator) and Pedro Siza Vieira (former minister , in the XXI and XXII Constitutional Governments, and columnist for Expresso). In the second round table of the afternoon, which addressed the theme “Education & Social Mobility†, the focus was on Rui Costa (director of Resources and Special Projects at Fundação Serralves) and Mónica Vieira (coordinator of Education Initiative, from the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation). The work of this session, which is part of the Aveiro, Portuguese capital of culture 2024 program, concluded with the closing speech by Alexandre Homem Cristo.

Discover the main conclusions.


  • “I think that some dangers arise in the face of some uncertainty in the future… At the moment there is citizenship with a lot of mobility, a lack of sense of belonging and responsibility,†noted José Pina.
  • The coordinator of the Aveiro 2024 program argued that “it is important to involve young people in cultural initiatives†, as they are often focused on new technologies, which he recognized as important “when well used†.
  • “(Cultural) sharing makes thinking eclectic and open,†said Teresa Grancho, admitting that it is a “permanent challenge†how to welcome the immigrant community: “Everyone has to understand how they can communicate with the ‘new people’. There has to be teamwork.”

Living conditions

  • “The more we need the community, the more we move away from it. People are more distant and society evolves when everyone comes together,” said Pedro Marques Lopes.
  • “We always move from one side to the other, we always receive people, people from all sides, who integrate. The Portuguese have always emigrated in search of better living conditions,†commented Pedro Siza Vieira.


  • “There is extraordinary progress in access to schools, the indicators have grown a lot, we have placed people in schools. Now there is the challenge of quality in education,†said Mónica Vieira.
  • Mónica Vieira considered literacy fundamental for students to reach another level of learning and considered the “fight against inequalities†decisive.
  • “We have five times more students in higher education,†reinforced Rui Costa, assuming that “the high average age of teachers is a concern†.

Artificial intelligence

  • “I would like, first of all, to help teachers, as there are many bureaucratic tasks. It will enter the classroom, it must be adapted to educational needs and practices,” said Teresa Grancho.
  • “Artificial Intelligence is inevitable and is intended to improve our lives, despite all the risks it poses,†reinforced Rui Costa.

This project is supported by sponsors, with all content created, edited and produced by Expresso (see Code of Conduct), without external interference.


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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