I feel that this needs to be discussed as I found such discrepancy between both.
If you don’t know already, I came to the UK three years ago to study. This means that I have a fair amount of experience with the Portuguese system and the UK one.
I’ve always just been a regular student in Portugal with mediocre grades and red ink all over my essays saying ‘confusing!’. Truth is, I was never a good Portuguese writer but every exam and essay I was even farther away from being one as I became demotivated by the results.
Portuguese education is highly theoretical, relying in studying and memory. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad to have studied in Portugal but I also can admit that I can’t remember most of my studies.
Being a creative individual is not really celebrated in my home country. Those that have jobs are selected from thousands of others looking for the same opportunity leading to a crazy competition. Being competition and lack of creativity what lead me to search happiness in England.
As I didn’t know what to expect, several thoughts would cross my mind ‘maybe I’m not good enough’, ‘if I’m not good in Portuguese can’t even imagine in English’. Then, I came to realise that it was just because the educational system was too harsh on us and that I COULD do it and I was doing it!
Now, I write and people enjoy reading my thoughts and stories, I create all sorts of things and receive really good comments on it (and some bad ones that I can see me taking in the future to improve my work). I feel a growth. A motivation that keeps me creating and enjoying it.
Also, the grades are assessed differently. We have the 1-20 count on one side (Portugal) and the A-F on the other side (England). All with different percentages as well.
For example, if you have a 74% on a test, that would be a 15 in Portugal and an A in England. That is the difference from an okay student to an excellent student.
The combination of the teaching and the grading system is what made me so demotivated to study in Portugal and what keeps me going in England.
I do know that I’m not the only one feeling this way. There have been petitions to reform the educational system but nothing was ever actually changed.
Portugal as always taken pride in it’s system and I do believe that nothing will change in the near further unless someone takes action.