O que se diz hoje de Portugal na Bloomberg.(12/Fev/2007)
By Jim Silver
Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Chipidea Microelectronica SA, a Lisbon-based semiconductor designer, is hiring most of its engineers in
``The reason we opened engineering centers in other countries was to have access to trained personnel we couldn't find in this country,'' Chairman Jose Franca said last month in a speech at an awards ceremony for young scientists and engineers.
The shortage has
That's bad news for
``The generation of new firms is very slim in
Math proficiency dropped even as the government almost doubled spending on education to 6.1 billion euros ($7.9 billion) over the past decade. During that period
The Education Ministry in 2005 increased training for primary-school math teachers and tightened job requirements to prevent those who failed math from teaching it.
In a country where the ministry traditionally keeps tight control over instruction, schools are being allowed to experiment with math curricula to find out what works best. The goal is to force schools to take responsibility for student performance, said Valter Lemos, secretary of state for education.
``We hope this year there will already be some results,'' he said. ``Our goal of getting to the average of the OECD results will take a few years.''
The results from the national test reinforced concerns that
``Math provides models of thinking and working that are important in professional life,'' said Joao Pedro da Ponte, chairman of the education department at
Chipidea was founded in 1997 by three professors at the Technical University of Lisbon, providing jobs for their students. Now many of its workers come from abroad,
Giving workers a better grounding in math would help them become more efficient, Ponte said. Productivity in
Years of failure have had a snowball effect, so that many students now avoid math because they think it is too tough, said
``There are many who go into easier specializations, such as psychology or sociology,'' he said.
Companies are trying to stimulate interest in math.
Banco Espirito Santo SA,
Caixa Geral de Depositos SA,
``Math isn't such a tough nut to crack,'' said
In 2002, only 10 percent of the country's 55- to 64-year- olds had a high school education, the lowest proportion in the OECD. Among 25- to-34-year-olds, the rate was almost 40 percent, still third-worst.
Augusto Pascoal, vice president of the Greater Lisbon Teachers Union and a retired math teacher, said the standard curriculum skips over some of the basics. He said many students can't handle algebra questions with a single unknown, because ``they haven't been prepared with simple questions such as `what times two is six?'''
Teresa Caissotti, a high school math teacher in the
``I think something's changing,'' she said. ``Now it's not just education experts thinking about this issue.''
To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Silver in
Last Updated: February 11, 2007 19:00 EST