IMPACT OF THE ECONOMIC CRISIS ON THE HIGHER EDUCATION: THE CASE OF PORTUGAL

F. David1, R. Abreu1, L. Segura2, H. Formigoni2, F. Mantovani2

1Instituto Polit├ęcnico da Guarda (PORTUGAL)
2Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (BRAZIL)
This research focuses on economic crisis analysis to understand their impact on the annual evolution of the students number enrolled in Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in Portugal. The Portuguese higher education system is binary, including university and polytechnic institutions that can be public or private. On the one hand, the university and polytechnic subsystems are mainly differentiated by their formative role in research: the polytechnics are vocationally or professionally oriented and do not carry out fundamental research as the universities do; and the universities conducted applied research. On the other hand, specifically, the polytechnics institutions have as main objectives the regional development and a close interaction with its operational environment that provided a flexible reaction to changes in its environment. This differentiation mission between the two types of HEI justifies the promotion of diverse socially responsible policies to support students with financial difficulties. Methodologically, this research presents two research approaches. The theoretical framework is based on literature review of arguments to mitigating the adverse economic and social impact of the crisis, in the context of the austerity imposed by the Memorandum of Understanding (2011) that launched Portugal into a deep recession that had devastating impacts on some sectors of the economy, as the higher education system. The empirical framework is based on descriptive statistical analysis, supported on the statistical information provided by National Statistical Institute and Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science, providing important insights into higher education system evolution in Portugal. Through the connection of both frameworks and research findings, HEI are able to improve their contribution to society in result of social support to students and public funding following a CSR strategy. The results of the research show that economic crisis severely affected Portugal. On one side, has a significant impact on the resources available for education, making that the HEI restructures its organization in consequence of the austerity measures that oblige to salary cuts of personnel, less posts in school management and a rationalizing of regional educational system. On the other side, has a significant impact on families that have significantly lower incomes and less purchasing power, justifying the decrease of students on the higher education system