The number of immigrants attending public schools in Portugal has increased by 47 percent in just two years, the Jornal de Notíci has reported.
Educational establishments have needed to reinvent themselves in order to accommodate the significant rise in foreign students, including a number of Portuguese nationals who have lived and studied abroad and as a result cannot speak, read or write Portuguese.
The largest contingent of foreign students stems from Brazil, however, there has been a clear uptrend in students migrating from China, Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Venezuela who are seeking education in Portugal.
“We are witnessing the return of many emigrants with school-age children who, being Portuguese, have to attend classes in Portuguese, which is not their first language,” said Cristina Fontes, a teacher and coordinator of Portuguese language for non-natives.
“In the countries where they grew up, they never had classes in their mother tongue,” she added.
A source from the Directorate-General for Education of the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science told the media outlet that although there are “no hard numbers” regarding the enrollment of foreign students for the 2020/21 academic year, “there is the conviction that there is strong growth.”