Peer Learning Activity on Short-Cycle Higher Education (SCHE)

Peer Learning Activity on Short-Cycle Higher Education (SCHE) 

EURASHE together with the Council of Portuguese Polytechnics, the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and the Portugal Ministry of Higher Education and Science is organizing a Peer learning activity on short-cycle higher education (SCHE) on 19-20 September in Porto, Portugal.


The event will give an opportunity for 80 local and international participants from institutions, governments, quality assurance agencies to exchange views and experience on the following topics:

  • Mission, role and objectives of SCHE, reflecting world of work and specific learners’ groups needs;
  • Pedagogy with emphasis on practical aspects, work-based learning and cooperation with the world of work;
  • Quality assurance in SCHE, approach, tools and impact on recognition within higher education.

The event is free of charge but the places are limited.

Registration is CLOSED!

Please find the presentations of the event here.

Thursday 19 September 2019 | Polytechnic Institute of Porto – Presidency Services, Rua Dr. Roberto Frias 712, Porto
14:30-15:00 Registration of participants

Welcome by:

  • Pedro Dominguinhos, President CCISP, President Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal
  • João Rocha, the President, Polytechnic Institute of Porto
  • Michal Karpíšek, Secretary General, EURASHE

Opening address
Secretary of State of Science, Technology and Higher Education, João Sobrinho Teixeira


Introduction of the concept of the reversed peer learning activity within EURASHE agenda 
Michal Karpíšek, Secretary General, EURASHE


Coffee break


Setting the scene. Presentation of the Short-cycle higher education situation in Portugal:

  • Overview of the role and development of short-cycle higher education in Portugal. João Queiroz, the Director-General for Higher Education in Portugal
  • General situation and position of short-cycle higher education in Europe. Jean-Philippe Restoueix, expert, Council of Europe



End of the day


The conference reception at the Porto Polytechnic Library building

Friday 20 September 2019 | Polytechnic Institute of Porto – Presidency Services, Rua Dr. Roberto Frias 712, Porto
9:30-9:50 Welcome and summary of the first day
Armando Pires, EURASHE Vice-President, CCISP 

Presentation of the Portuguese situation:

  • Institutional experience – role of short-cycle higher education, its specifics, challenges. Pedro Dominguinhos, President CCISP, President Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal
  • Experience with short-cycle higher education and challenges from the business perspective. Paulo Almeida, Deloitte
  • Students’ view. João Pinto, student, Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal


Coffee break 


Response of international experts reflecting on the addressed themes:

  • Jean-Philippe Restoueix, expert, Council of Europe. Focus on profile and role of SCHE within the changing environment, recognition agenda
  • Jim Murray, Deputy CEO and Director of Academic Affairs, THEA, Ireland. Focus on a role and quality assurance of short-cycle higher education within the diversified higher education landscape.
  • Alicia-Leonor Sauli-Miklavčič, expert, Slovene Association of Higher Vocational Colleges, EURASHE Board member. Focus on institutional experience and methods of learning.


12:20-12:30 Introduction of the smaller discussion groups on various topics 
12:30-13:30 Lunch 

Group discussion groups on the following topics:

  • Role, profile and position of SCHE within higher education (Jean-Philippe Restoueix)
  • Quality assurance and recognition of SCHE within higher education system (Jim Murray)
  • SCHE methods of learning including work-based learning elements, engagement with stakeholders (Alicia-Leonor Sauli-Miklavčič) 
15:00-15:30 Coffee break 
15:30-16:00 Briefing from the workshops & discussion 
16:00-16:20 Reflection from the Portuguese side 
16:20-16:40 Reflection of the international experts
16:40-16:50 Final discussion
16:50-17:00 Conclusions
Michal Karpíšek, EURASHE

Please find the Rationale of the event here.   

Background of the activity

A reversed peer-learning approach allows EURASHE to support its members’ discussions on the role and various aspects of the mission of PHE, on Bologna process and their reflection in national policies. It builds upon a national background paper indicating the key issues and concerns within the specific area selected by the hosting organisation (most likely the national association of institutes of professional higher education), their reflection from the view of international experts and workshop discussions among the local and international participants.

The expected outcome is a set of comments and conclusions which may serve for further national debate and policy work, yet also enhanced understanding of the relevant issues within the international community.

Expected scope of the event is about 80 participants bringing together representatives of professional higher education from the country and abroad, international experts and other relevant key actors from the hosting country (ministry, quality assurance agencies, higher education community including students, world of work…).

Focus of the activity

The event co-organised together with the Council of Portuguese Polytechnics (CCISP) with the support of the Portuguese Ministry of Higher Education and Science and Polytechnic Institute of Porto will focus at their request on various aspects of short-cycle higher education with emphasis on the following issues:

  • Mission, role and objectives of SCHE, reflecting world of work and specific learners’ groups needs,
  • Quality assurance in SCHE, approach, tools and impact on recognition within higher education
  • Pedagogy with emphasis on practical aspects, work-based learning and cooperation with world of work.

Short-cycle higher education – and in a wider context qualifications at the level 5 of the European Qualifications Framework – is one of the most dynamically developing segments of higher/tertiary education in Europe. This type of education provides various opportunities – it serves as another, important channel for enhances access to higher education, quite often for learners from non-traditional background; it provides a bridge to higher qualifications, yet also offers special, targeted professional qualification for a narrow range of specific, relatively high-qualified jobs. It may serve as a strong building stone of life-long learning agenda addressing people how to seek for up- and re-skilling within their development of competences, profile and attractiveness at the labour market. Due to its specific professional profile, the very close engagement with the world of work is usually much stronger then it is used in higher education in general. Due to the variability of missions, but also due to much colorful range of providers, there are various expectations as regards profile, characteristics, key features of learning provisions within the short-cycle higher education – and even more when considering the complexity of various provisions at EQF level 5.  There has been little evidence of the development at European level, although various institutions (European Commission, Cedefop, European Training Foundation, Council of Europe, EURASHE, …) contributed with their views and studies.

The short-cycle has been systemically incorporated into the Bologna structures over the past year. The Dublin descriptors within the Qualifications Framework of European Higher Education Area (EHEA) include specific descriptors for the higher education short-cycle[1]. After calling for development of tools and mechanisms for recognition of short-cycle higher education in previous communiques, the responsible ministers of EHEA countries adopted at their meeting in Paris on May 2018 within their final Paris communique[2] the short cycle qualifications as a stand-alone qualification level within the overarching Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area.

While the introduction of the respective qualification within higher education is not obligatory for the EHEA countries, there has been definitely a growing attention to its potential, profile, role and links to other qualification levels, as well as consideration how to integrate the short-cycle higher education provisions within general higher education structures and tools including quality assurance and recognition.

The lessons learnt from the Portuguese situation may contribute to such debate, yet the event is expected to provide international view to Portuguese hosts at the same time.

[1], pg. 66


Following are the speakers of the event:

  • Paulo Almeida - Paulo Almeida is a Partner at Deloitte’s Consulting division in the Financial Services practice having +20 years of professional experience at Deloitte, currently leading the Delivery Center in Portugal. Throughout... Read more
  • Pedro Dominguinhos - Prof. Pedro Dominguinhos is the President of The Portuguese Polytechnics Coordinating Council (CCISP) and the President of the Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal (IPS).   
  • Jim Murray - Dr. Jim Murray is a historian by training, and has worked previously as an archivist in the UK’s National Archives (1990-95); in university administration in Dublin City University (1995-2003); and... Read more
  • João Queiroz - João Queiroz is Director-General for Higher Education in Portugal since 2014 and is a full Professor of Biochemistry/Biotechnology at the University of Beira Interior. He was President of Faculty of Health Sciences... Read more
  • Jean-Philippe Restoueix - Jean Philippe RESTOUEIX is 56 years old. Since 1994, he is administrator within the Council of Europe firstly in the Youth department and since 2007 within the Education department. Within... Read more
  • Alicia-Leonor Sauli-Miklavčič, Vice-President of EURASHE - Alicia-Leonor Sauli-Miklavčič is a good connoisseur of international professional higher education, she has been Project Expert at the Slovene Association HVC as well as a member of the EURASHE working... Read more
  • The event is free of charge.

    Venue of the event

    Polytechnic Institute of Porto – Presidency Services
    Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, 712
    4200-465 Porto, Portugal

    How to get there

    Metro and bus stop: Hospital S. João 

    From the airport:


    Following is our hotel proposal for your stay in Porto:

    Name Address Distance from the venue

    Hotel Ibis São João

    800 mt
    10 minutes by walking

    Eurostars Oporto

    900 mt
    11 minutes by walking

    Axis Porto

    900 mt
    11 minutes by waking

    Hotel Star Inn Porto

    3 km
    30 minutes by walking

    Porto is recognized worldwide for multiple reasons. It is not just for the known wine with the same name, for its soccer team and for the food, but because it is a city of science, research and culture. It is a vibrant and young city where academic life is lived intensely. The large concentration of higher education students in Porto makes this an Erasmus city that is multicultural, cosmopolitan and low cost (or high budget). The internationalization and plurality of cultures that we see and live in the streets are an asset for all who live, study or work here. 

    Alongside the city, flows the Douro river, which has given its name to the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. Alto Douro Wine Region, where the famous Port Wine is produced, was also classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In addition to this heritage, you will find a current vitality and dynamism, a sparkle that allows both residents and visitors to safely enjoy a rich cultural and social life as in any European capital. Moreover, Porto offers a top academic life and the excellency of P.PORTO Programmes. There is plenty to do and you won’t lack company. You have to be here to live it first-hand. Porto is so special that, at the beginning of the 19th century, a Portuguese King left his heart in legacy to the city. Metaphorically, however, everybody leaves their hearts in the city which gave its name to the country.