Portugal is a European nation that shares the Iberian Peninsula with neighboring Spain. Its 2009 population stood at 10,657,000. Portugal's historic educational system was largely hierarchical, elitist, and Roman Catholic. Educational reforms beginning in the 18th century introduced secularization and increased educational access. The 46/86 Law introduced in 1986 mandates six years of free universal compulsory primary education. While 99 percent of children receive some level of primary education and literacy rates are high, enrollment dramatically declines at the secondary level and beyond. The troubles of the Portuguese educational system and its subsequent lack of a skilled workforce threaten the country's economic future.

Portugal became an independent nation in the 12th century. The early educational system was highly centralized and hierarchical, with most curricular decisions emanating ...

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