President of IPCA took office as leader of the polytechnics

“Maria José Fernandes, president of the Polytechnic Institute of Cávado and Ave, began a new term as the head of the Coordinating Council of Polytechnic Higher Education Institutions (CCISP) on April 16th.

In a statement, the CCISP mentioned that Maria José Fernandes intends to consolidate the work started two years ago when she became the first woman to hold the position. The inauguration ceremony in Barcelos was attended by the Minister of Education, Science, and Innovation, Fernando Alexandre.

During the ceremony held at IPCA, the CCISP president reiterated her support for greater autonomy for higher education institutions, a sentiment that was echoed by Fernando Alexandre.

The revision of the Legal Framework of Higher Education Institutions (RJIES) and social action are also among Maria José Fernandes’ priorities, as well as financing for higher education. “Beyond the need for practical implementation of the decree approved by the Assembly of the Republic in April 2023, which allows these educational establishments to award doctoral degrees and change their designation to Polytechnic Universities,” the note reads.

The CCISP president emphasized in her inaugural speech that the first doctorate program led exclusively by a Polytechnic, in this case, the Polytechnic of Bragança, was recently approved by the Higher Education Assessment and Accreditation Agency (A3ES).

In his address, the Minister of Education, Science, and Innovation recalled that he had “the opportunity to advocate for the awarding of doctorates by polytechnics” in the Assembly of the Republic. “So, it aligns perfectly with what I think. If they couldn’t award doctorates, polytechnics would be limited in their interaction with the business world,” added Fernando Alexandre, who promised ongoing dialogue and a spirit of cooperation.

Maria José Fernandes also sees it as “imperative” to reformulate the financing model. “We need human, material, and financial resources to better integrate students with specific needs and create all the conditions for more students to enroll in higher education.”

“We have to be more inclusive, and for that, it’s essential to provide the best conditions for those who arrive at a disadvantage. We need to deepen the policy of diversifying the network of R&D centers, as well as their financing,” she added.

The CCISP mentioned in the same note that it will continue to advocate with the new ministerial team for the revision of other higher education diplomas, such as promoting policies that allow strengthening the social participation base, creating a true social action financing system, reinforcing funding for support to higher education institutions for students with special needs, or ensuring that the reinforcement for indirect social action extends beyond 2024.

Maria José Fernandes holds a degree in Management and a Ph.D. in Business Sciences. She has also been the president of the Polytechnic Institute of Cávado and Ave since 2017. She has led the CCISP since April 2022 and is also the president of the Public Accounting Specialty College of the Order of Certified Accountants.

The Coordinating Council of Polytechnic Higher Education Institutions is a collegiate body with various competencies, representing public polytechnic higher education institutions collectively.

The universities of the Azores, Algarve, Aveiro, Évora, and Madeira also have seats on the CCISP. In addition to representing its members collectively, its main competence is issuing opinions and positions on matters related to higher education.

It is, therefore, a consultative entity of the ministry responsible for higher education, also being called upon to take a stand with other organizations.

Source: O Minho

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