Compulsory education in Portugal lasts nine years, taking pupils from the age of six to fifteen. In state-run (public) schools this basic education is free. Because of high unemployment and low educational attainment levels the Government is (late 2010) considering sending young unemployed back into either vocational or mainstream education.
Financial assistance may be available for extra expenses such as school meals, transport and textbooks, depending on the family's circumstances.
The Ministry of Education (Ministério da Educação) is responsible for the administration of state schools in Portugal.
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