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The HCOP oversees the enacting and fulfilment of the objectives set forth in the full text of the OP, in order to analyse the implementation trajectory regarding the interim targets to be achieved in 2018 and at the end of the programming period, seeking in this way to align strategies and performance guidelines throughout its implementation.

For this purpose it brings about a set of tools for regular monitoring of the HCOP deployment, with emphasis on the annual implementation reports required from 2016, in accordance with applicable EU and national regulations, which can be accessed on this page as soon as they are approved by its Monitoring Committee.

The monitoring of HCOP is an integral part of the Portugal 2020 Monitoring System, which analyses if the implementation of the Programmes is being carried out as predicted, identifying the critical points and deviations affecting the expected results, to allow timely management corrections. To this purpose, the Agency for Development and Cohesion (AD & C) makes available, on a quarterly basis, the European Union Funds Bulletin at the Portugal 2020 portal.

In the scope of the monitoring system for Portugal 2020, the European Union Funds Annual Report is also made available, to accurately convey both the levels of financial implementation and the progress made towards the desired results, taking into account the socio-economic contexts in which the supported interventions are focused upon.

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Check the European Union website on the European Structural and Investment Funds, where you can find information on the application of these Funds in different Member States, including Portugal.

HCOP Strategic Goals

Regarding its major objectives, the indicators suggest an acceleration of the trajectory to reduce early school leaving in recent years, with a strong contribution from the ESF. However, Portugal still has the highest rates of early school leaving in the EU, with the national target for 2020 being set at 10%.

With that goal in mind, it is essential to continue and deepen the effort to promote educational success as a central instrument for reducing levels of school drop-out. The HCOP supports this effort.


Evolution of Early School Leaving Rate (18-24 year old population)


     Source: INE

At the higher education level, there has been a rapid convergence with the EU average (with a contribution from the ESF), but it is necessary to continue strengthening the attractiveness of higher education to increase the number of graduates at this education level, whose goal is set at 40% by 2020


Population 30-34 years old with higher education 


Source: INE

Despite all the efforts to expand education and training opportunities in Portugal, with decreasing levels of early school leaving and the rapid increase of qualifications in younger generations - which are, in fact, the most qualified ever - we still maintain an average education level in the adult population which is particularly low in the EU context. This is perhaps one of the biggest structural deficits of the country, as a result of a very late expansion of the initial and ongoing education of its population, compared to more developed countries.


Adult population (25-64 years old) with Secondary or Higher Education

graf4.pngSource: INE

Lifelong Learning (LL) constitutes therefore another great objective for the OP, with an emphasis on the steady increase in the qualifications of adults. In that context, Portugal registers levels in line with the EU average (or even higher, in some years), regarding the participation of adults in education or training activities - but it is paramount to continue and extend that effort, given the still low average education levels for that population.


Evolution of adult participation (25-64 years old) in Training

graf3.png Source: INE

Concurrently and in a broader scope, the HCOP also has responsibilities towards employability, and as such, it also invests in the monitoring of figures related to that subject.

Strengthening the quality of education and training actions is an essential prerequisite for reaching the targets proposed by Portugal in the Partnership Agreement and the OP keeps a close look on the studies and analyses provided by its partners towards supporting actions that reinforce the quality of the education system.

Counterfactual studies show that double certification offers (e.g.: Vocational Courses) have twice the employability than the scientific-humanistic teaching course and the (still) high failing and drop-out rates in the main education careers of secondary education is still the main obstacle to academic success.

HCOP in action

The HCOP approved until 31 March 2017, 1543 applications, divided by the Norte, Centro e Alentejo region, with a total amount of around € 2,1 billion. Within the Youth Training Programme, 1278 applications were approved, amounting to € 1.5 billion, which corresponds to 70% of the total approved investment. In Higher and Advanced Education, € 394 million were approved for 28 approved operations, corresponding to 19% of total investment. In the Lifelong Learning Programme, 236 applications were approved, totalling around € 205 million, with a 10% weight compared to total investment.

Approved funding by type of Operation


 Source: HCOP

Regarding the regions for HCOP intervention, the Norte region is the one with the most approved applications, with 740 for a total funding of € 1,091 million, followed by the Centro region with a funding of € 713 million , corresponding to 590 applications. In the Alentejo region, 203 projects were approved, totalling a funding of € 170 million. Nine approved projects fall within a multi-regional scope and correspond to € 93 million.


Approved funding by Region

2p.png Source: HCOP

Check the list of operations approved by HCOP.