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Portuguese Planning for Immigrants

The president of Portugal’s recently created Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum (AIMA), Luís Goes Pinheiro, has announced a plan, aimed at immigrants in Portugal who do not speak Portuguese as their native language, which will be a “guide that brings together the wishes of several public sector entities with responsibilities in this matter.”

“Today it will be publicly presented, and tomorrow (Friday) the first strategic plan for teaching and learning the Portuguese language for foreigners will go into public consultation. We managed to mobilize a vast group of public administration entities in a document that binds all parties for the next four years, with a review within two years,” stated Goes Pinheiro.

Initiatives for teaching Portuguese to foreigners “already existed, but were scattered or poorly coordinated”, said the president of AIMA, adding that “a major feature of this strategic plan is clearly the investment in communication and information technology tools” to provide coherence to training.

An example of this is the possibility of “self-diagnosis of users who want to know what situation they are in and their command of the Portuguese language,” with the possibility of “distance training” or “certification of knowledge using digital tools”, without the need to attend classes.

“It is important that teaching leaves the classroom” and, therefore, the plan includes learning “language in a work context” or even “in the context of sports,” said Goes Pinheiro.

According to the president of AIMA, “the plan “is very much designed for migrants who are not in the education system and who need encouragement and solutions to make learning a reality”.

“We know well how mastery of the language is an absolutely critical element for full integration, as all international studies indicate,” said Goes Pinheiro.

The teaching of Portuguese “is something that the Portuguese themselves demand as an absolutely essential condition for the integration of those who visit us,” he added. Without committing to funds to invest in the plan, Goes Pinheiro stated that AIMA “intends to allocate a significant set of funds to the plan”, higher than what was done in the past, but the amount will depend on what emerges from the period of public discussion.

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