(L-R) Claude Meisch, Luxembourg's Minister of Education, Childhood and Youth; Paolo Cafôfo, Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities; Credit: MENEJ

From Monday 7 to Tuesday 8 November 2022, Luxembourg's Minister of Education, Children and Youth, Claude Meisch, traveled to Lisbon, Portugal for a working visit.

Since the Minister's last meeting in 2020 with the Secretary of State for the Portuguese Communities, Berta Nunes, the collaboration between the two countries has been strengthened. Numerous measures have been taken to promote the integration of pupils of Portuguese origin into the Luxembourg school system and to promote the Portuguese language and Portuguese-speaking cultures among pupils.

During his working visit, Minister Meisch presented actions to promote the Portuguese language and Portuguese-speaking cultures to the Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities, Paulo Cafôfo. The importance of the resources invested by both parties to promote the learning of Portuguese was recalled. It allows Portuguese-descendants to continue to deepen their knowledge of the language and non-Portuguese speakers to learn Portuguese, one of the most widely spoken languages ​​in the world.

Minister Meisch underlined the success of Luxembourg's integration and welcoming culture, which relies on numerous complementary tools. “In the integration policy that a country adopts, the place of children is essential. It is thanks to the good collaboration with the Portuguese authorities and the efforts of Luxembourg schools that we have made great progress in recent years in welcoming Portuguese pupils".

In addition, the Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security of Portugal, Ana Mendes Godinho, presented to Minister Mesich the reforms of vocational training, the upskilling and reskilling initiatives as well as the efforts to promote digital skills. These projects have generated a lot of interest from the Luxembourg delegation and both parties have taken note of the need for mutual recognition of diplomas and professional qualifications.

Minister Meisch also met his Portuguese counterpart, the Minister of Education, João Costa, with whom he discussed Luxembourg's many initiatives in terms of diversifying the school offer, integrating Portuguese pupils into Luxembourgish language and interculturality, so many major objectives for all schools in Luxembourg. Minister Costa was particularly interested in policies for the inclusion of children with special needs. Luxembourg's good practices could inspire efforts to integrate foreign children in Portugal. During the discussion on the new vocational training system and the possibilities of full and partial qualifications in Portugal, the two countries agreed to create a working group in order to speed up the procedure for mutual recognition of diplomas.

At the end of the stay, the two education ministers visited the escola comércio Lisboa, a business school that emphasises project-based learning and close collaboration with companies.