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Until recently, Portugal was 31st in the ranking. international Pisa (2012). Organization that assesses the reading and science skills of 15-year-old students every three years. 

In 2015, Portugal emerged in 22nd place, ahead of France, which fell one place to 27th.

The OECD considers these improvements historic for Portugal, in a report published in 2018. The Portuguese government has put a lot of effort into reducing inequalities at school," says OECD analyst Eric Charbonnier, who highlights the "proximity" of the French and Portuguese education systems.

Better learning conditions

Reforms include the organization of the school network In Portugal, for example, small schools in sparsely populated areas, which had been achieving mediocre results, are gradually closing down, to be replaced by larger, multi-level school complexes. "Pupils find better learning conditions there," says Paulo Santiago, also an OECD expert, who underlines the "consistency" of Portugal's policy.

Since the early 2000s, the government has been investing in early childhood education, teacher training and the fight against school drop-out. It is developing a national reading plan, and making learning Portuguese and mathematics a priority for schools.

"Portugal is now in the middle of the pack among European countries," says Eric Charbonnier. For, as in France, student performance still varies widely depending on their social background, the schools they attend and the region in which they live.

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