The Ordem dos Psicólogos Portugueses (OPP) expressed its concern regarding the possibility of placing teachers in the Psychology and Guidance Services, with the objective of carrying out “school guidance”, and asked for the distinction of what is understood as school and professional information, which may also be given by teachers/year heads and vocational guidance and counselling, which include areas of intervention which require specialised training in Psychology. This opinion was also backed by specialists recognised in the area, in the national and international plans.
Even though the Secretary of State for Primary and Secondary Education had already informed the OPP that the Ministry had no intention of placing teachers in the Psychology and Guidance Services, not even if they ensured the monitoring of students in the scope of School and Professional Guidance, the official documents received by the school explicitly mentions “school guidance”. There was a reflection around the rectification of its circular, in order to prevent future abuses that lead to the usurpation of functions of the school psychologist based on it.
The OPP reinforced the need to review the framework of attributions of the psychologist in a school context present in Decree-Law 300/97 and 190/91 and, in particular, for the various regimes in which psychologists provide services in schools so as to maximise the benefits generated in the school community. The OPP said they were working on this revision, and the politicians present showed interest in knowing the revision proposal later and that it could be discussed on a three-party platform, between the OPP, the government and the Parliament.
The OPP also showed some apprehension regarding the monthly contracting of psychologists, in terms of schools, under Decree-Law 132/12 to, supposedly, cover temporary needs, advising that, in spite of the commitment of the Ministry of Education and Science in contracting psychologists, most of them were not yet in school even though the school year had already started. This type of contracting may affect, in a significant manner, the work developed by these professionals, with a loss in the quality of service provided to the entire school community given the continued demand for care provided in this area of intervention. The role of the psychologist in the context of school was valued and that, given the current situation in our country, there was no investment, especially taking into consideration the important role that the school psychologist may also have in crisis situations.
Lastly, the OPP asked for a revision of Order 1189/10, regarding the housing for Psychology teachers in secondary education, defending that it should be separated from housing for teaching other subjects, such as Sociology and Anthropology. The OPP gave an unfavourable opinion regarding the respective order which prevents anyone trained in these 3 areas of knowledge, of, in practice, teaching in secondary education, given the non-existence of a masters with the number of credits demanded simultaneously in these 3 fields of study. The politicians present expressed the legitimacy of psychologists being able to teach the subject of Psychology in secondary education and their interest in receiving a proposal from the OPP for an alteration to this order, together with the work from Universities so as to have compatible curricular answers with this need for qualification.