In a statement, FNE indicates that the publication of the EPE course network confirms “a progressive reduction of teachers, seven fewer in the last academic year and five fewer in this year that is now beginning”.
“These numbers may seem insignificant, but in the case of EPE they are not, as it is a system that since 2010/2011 has been the target of progressive strangulation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Instituto Camões”, notes the Federation.
In several European countries, “there are only around 280 teachers with full time hours”.
“Unfortunately, the political powers that be consider the EPE to be 'very expensive' and a 'burden' for the public treasury, one of the reasons that led to the institution of the sadly famous attendance fee, or tuition fee, mandatory in courses attended mostly by students who are Portuguese and Portuguese descendants, whose number continues to decrease”, states the Federation.
In this regard, the FNE states that Switzerland and the Netherlands, countries where “tuition fees” are mandatory, stand out negatively, with the situation in Switzerland being “extremely worrying”, having reduced the number of students by 8,000 (2020 ) to 7,200 in the current academic year.
Regarding teachers, there were 82 in 2020 and currently there are only 63.
For the federation, “it is urgent to reverse this trajectory, it is urgent to begin a negotiation process that involves valuing EPE and its professionals, so that it can effectively fulfil its mission of affirming and spreading the Portuguese language in the world and providing learning of the national language, history, geography and culture to Portuguese communities”.