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On the 50 years of Veiga Simão Reform: educational policies between changes and continuities

Nos 50 anos da Reforma Veiga Simão: as políticas educativas entre mudanças e continuidades

Lusófona University
Auditorium José Araújo
Lisbon 10-11 July 2023

Presentation of the Colloquium

On July 25, 1973, the Government Gazette published the text of Law 5/73, which approved “the bases to which the reform of the educational system must obey”, the main fruit of a process initiated in January 1971 with the presentation of two documents, Project for the School System and General Guidelines for the Reform of Higher Education.

The documents released in a communication to the country on January 6, 1971 by the then young Minister of National Education, José Veiga Simão, presented the bones of his reforming project: promotion of pre-school education, extension of compulsory education, reconversion of secondary education, expansion and diversification of higher education. But the communication called for an unprecedented public debate, in the context of a dictatorial regime, where freedom of opinion and association were seriously curtailed.

Between the presentation of the reforming ideas in January 1971 and their promulgation in July 1973 in the form of a Law approved in the then National Assembly, the country witnessed, in an unfavourable global context, a “public discussion” and an intense legislative activity, consecrating in partial diplomas, under the pretext of the “pedagogical experimentation”, fundamental aspects of the announced and debated reform lines.

The reforming action of the Minister Veiga Simão is inserted in the final period of the New State, which precedes the Carnation Revolution of April 25th 1974 and the change of course towards a democratic Portugal. It is part of the last attempt at a ‘renewal in continuity’ of a regime now led by Marcelo Caetano, who, in more than four decades, had led Portugal into an impasse, well mirrored in a senseless colonial war with no end in sight.

Unquestionably, the Veiga Simão reform represented a period which placed education at the centre of the debates on the development and modernisation of the country. But it also allowed, due to its limits and contradictions, to make the complete exhaustion of the political form of organisation of the Estado Novo very visible to the Portuguese society.

It is in this context that the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Education and Development (CeiED), of the Lusófona University, and the Portuguese Association for the History of Education (HISTEDUP) organize the conference On the 50 Years of the Veiga Simão Reform: educational policy between changes and continuities. The topics for debate will be, among other possible ones, the following:

  • The political, economic and social context of the reform: marcelismo;
  • The educational legacy: from the Camoesas reform (1923) to the Veiga Simão reform (1973);
  • The principles and outlines of the documents presented by Veiga Simão;
  • Pre-school education and basic education in the Veiga Simão reform;
  • The reformulation of secondary education;
  • The creation of new universities and the general guidelines for the reform of higher education;
  • Teacher training in the Veiga Simão reform;
  • Adult education and forms of non-formal education;
  • The public discussion of the reform projects: contributions and limits;
  • The debates in the Corporative Chamber and in the National Assembly;
  • The implications and debates in the then Portuguese colonies;
  • The Congress of the Democratic Opposition and the criticism of Veiga Simão;
  • From the Veiga Simão reform (1973) to the Basic Law of the Education System (1986)

CeiED and HISTEDUP appeal to the scientific community from the various fields of Educational Sciences, History, Sociology or Philosophy, for a sharing of knowledge and research on this crucial period of the history of Portugal (and of the countries which emerged from Portuguese colonialism).

Organizing Committee

  • Alcina Manuela O. Martins, CeiED, Universidade Lusófona
  • António Teodoro, CeiED, Universidade Lusófona
  • Ernesto Candeias Martins, CeiED, Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco
  • Joaquim Pintassilgo, HISTEDUP, Universidade de Lisboa
  • José V. Brás, CeiED, Universidade Lusófona
  • Maria Neves Gonçalves, CeiED, Polytechnic Institute of Lusophony
  • Raquel Pereira Henriques, HISTEDUP, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
  • Teresa Teixeira Lopo, CeiED-Op.Edu, Universidade Lusófona


Isabela Bertho
Pedro Fialho


July 10th, Monday

  • 10.00: Reception of participants
  • 10.30: Opening session
    • António Teodoro, Director of CeiED, Universidade Lusófona
      Joaquim Pintassilgo, President of HISTEDUP, University of Lisbon
    • José Bragança Miranda, Rector of Universidade Lusófona
  • 11.00: Conferences
    • Marcelism: late authoritarian modernisation
      António Costa Pinto, ICS, Lusófona University

      The Veiga Simão Reform: between announced educational changes and a blocked political transition
      António Teodoro, CeiED, Lusófona University
      Moderator: Joaquim Pintassilgo, University of Lisbon

  • 13.00: Lunch break
  • 14.30: Round table 1
    • The general principles of the reform: from the recognition of pre-school education to the new structure of basic and secondary education
      Maria João Cardona, Polytechnic Institute of Santarém
      Luís Alberto Alves, University of Porto
      David Rodrigues, Councillor for CNE, University of Lisbon

      Moderator: José V. Brás, Universidade Lusófona

  • 16.00: Coffee break
  • 16.30: Parallel sessions
  • 18.00: Closure of work on 1st day

Tuesday 11 July

  • 09.30: Round table 2
    • Teacher training and pedagogical innovation in the Veiga Simão reform
      Maria do Céu Roldão, Instituto Politécnico de Santarém
      Maria João Mogarro, University of Lisbon
      Raquel P. Henriques, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

      Moderator: Maria Neves Gonçalves, Instituto Politécnico da Lusofonia

  • 11.00: Coffee break
  • 11.30: Parallel sessions
  • 13.00: Lunch break
  • 14.30: Round table 3
    • The general lines of higher education reform and the creation of new universities
      Jorge Ramos do Ó, University of Lisbon
      Maria Helena Nazaré, Aveiro University
      Joaquim Mourato, DGESup, Polytechnic Institute of Portalegre

      Moderator: Maria de Lourdes Machado-Taylor
      , CIPES, Universidade Lusófona
  • 16.00: Coffee break
  • 16.30: Closing conference
    • The Veiga Simão reform 50 years later
      Licínio C. Lima, Universidade do Minho
  • 17.30: Closing conference


Participants with paper: 50 EUR

Members of HISTEDUP and CeiED researchers with paper: 30 EUR

Participants without paper: 30 EUR

Students: 20 EUR


Paper submission

The Colloquium allows two types of contributions: individual papers and posters.

Individual paper proposals should be submitted online, on the EasyChair platform, until the 2nd of June 2023. Proposals must focus on research work and fit into at least one of the topics of the Colloquium.

Proposals must contain a title, an abstract and three keywords. Abstracts should contain up to 2500 characters (including spaces). Each researcher may be the author of a maximum of 3 papers.

The link for sharing on EasyChair is the following.

The link to register in the Colloquium is the following.