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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.8 Media literacy and safe use of new media

Last update: 15 January 2021

National strategy

In the last two decades, Portugal has experienced a change and technological developments that led to new challenges and need of skills for an informed and safe use of the media, in particular the internet and new technologies.

The European Union has developed operational programmes and strategies, such as the Lisbon Strategy (2000) and its revision in 2005, placing a greater emphasis on knowledge, innovation and human capital optimisation (European Council, 2005).

In this context, in 2007 Portugal launched the Technological Plan, which included a Plan for Education that lasted from 2007 to 2011 and included, among other initiatives, the e-schools programme (aimed at students of the 2nd and 3rd cycles of basic and secondary education) and the "e-escolinhas" (for students of the 1st cycle).  The objective was to promote the access to the Information Society and prevent info-exclusion, through the distribution of laptops and internet access with discounts to students and teachers.

Laptops purposely developed ar part of this initiative were distributed to families with students in the 1st cycle, while managing costs. These laptops were called Magalhães (named after a Portuguese Navigator), having been distributed around 500 thousand computers between 2008 and 2011.

The objective was to put Portugal among the 5 most advanced European countries in terms of technological modernisation of education. 

Alongside the concern of democratising internet access and technological equipment, concerns related to the safety of Internet usage were emerging.  Thus arises, in 2007, the Safe Internet initiative, which is still in force.

Between 2011 and 2013 there was still the Learn and Innovate with ICT initiative, and in 2011 it was published a Recommendation on Education for Media Literacy by the National Council of Education 

The Regulatory Authority for the Media (ERC) is, since 2009, the entity responsible for promoting activities and initiatives in the field of media literacy, from congresses to differentiated educational activities, involving the educational community.

In collaboration with entities of the educational sector (Communication and Society Studies Centre (CECS) of the University of Minho, by the National UNESCO Commission (CNU), DGE, FCT, Portuguese Radio and Television (RTP), the School Libraries Network (RBE), ERC founded the Informal Group for Media Literacy (GILM) that aims to contribute to the promotion and development of policies in the field of media education. 

Under this group, a set of activities have been developed, such as congresses and other type of initiatives. The initiatives that stand out the most are Seven Days with the Media operation, the Media Literacy Portal and a study about Media Education in Portugal - Experiences, actors and contexts.

In April 2017, the national initiative Digital Skills e 2030 - Portugal (INCoDE.2030) was launched.

In an inter-ministerial logic, this initiative encompasses the following ministerial departments: Administrative Modernisation; Science, Technology and Higher Education; Education; Work; Planning and Infrastructures; and Economy.

The objective is to strengthen the basic competencies in Information and Communication Technologies of the Portuguese population, making it more qualified for the integration into the labour market in fields related to technology and digital, by promoting, at the same time, digital literacy and inclusion.   

This initiative covers five strategic axis, including education. This initiative intends to ensure the education of young people through the encouragement and reinforcement in the fields of digital literacy and digital skills in all cycles of education and lifelong learning through:

  • Promotion of pedagogical innovation in teaching-learning processes;
  • Development of digital educational resources;
  • Design, development, certification and dissemination of digital educational resources for the different levels of education, courses, curriculum components and training components, promoting innovative learning environments;
  • Training of teachers from preschool education and basic and secondary education.

In 2019, an Observatory of Digital Competences was created in the DG for Education and Science Statistics, responsible for collecting and analyzing data on digital skills of the Portuguese population, the production of knowledge in the digital field and the social and economic impacts of the digital markets in the country (Decree-Law no. 156/2019, of 22th October).

ME is responsible for the National Strategy to prevent and fight Bullying and Cyberbullying. This plan is being developed by the SeguraNet Project together with the Health domain (under the National Strategy for Citizenship Education). Campaigns and other initiatives to be implement in schools are being prepared such as in-service teacher training, awareness campaigns and the development of educational resources. In October 2018 will be launched a MOOC on Bullying and Cyberbullying.

ME in partnership with other entities (Portuguese Judicial Police, Security Information Service, Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation, Prosecutor’s Office, National Cybersecurity Centre, among others) are responsible for the action plan of the National Strategy for the Cyberspace Security.

Several Citizesnhip and Development domains (within the framework of the National Strategy for Citizenship Education) contribute to promote e-safety through different topics (preventing and combating hate speech, Cyberbullying, copy right and online addiction, …).

The National Media Education Strategy is being developed in collaboration with the National Reading Plan and the School Libraries Network, which include several initiatives for educational communities involving as well different stakeholders.

Esafety issues have been incorporated in the national curricula since 2012, throught  Information and Communication Technology subject. Several resources have been developed in order to support students and teachers. Every school year, about 250 000 students aged 12-14 attend this ICT Subject thus contributing to e-safety awareness raising of around 21% of the Portuguese students. Under the National Strategy for Citizenship Education and the new curricular framework (Decree Law no. 55/2018, July 6) e-safety issues are integrated in the ICT subject (a curricular subject for 5th and 6th grade levels of primary education and for 7th, 8th and 9th grades  of lower secondary education).


Media literacy and online safety through formal education


Media Education

In Portugal, Media Literacy is included in the Education for Citizenship curriculum.

In the framework of the Guidelines for Citizenship Education, ME, through DGE, elaborated a Reference Guide for the Media for Preschool Education, Basic Education and Secondary Education, which was approved in 2014, after a consultation period and public discussion. In the framework of the National Strategy for Citizenship Education, Media Education is one of the domains of the curricular unit Citizenship and Development.

The pedagogic objectives for Media Education module and the respective reference guide is to promote the knowledge and a critical use of the media, especially in the context of new technologies, in particular a safe use of the Internet and social networks.

Within the scope of Media Education, DGE develops a set of initiatives:


Still in the scope of media literacy, DGE develop a set of formal national training courses:

  • Media Literacy and Journalism (40H)
  • Media and Citizenship Education: How digital is used in school (50H)
  • The importance of social media in the democratic participation of young people (25h)


At the same time, in the context of formal education, DGE has been participating in a number of projects whose objective is the curriculum integration, innovation and changing of teaching practices through the introduction of technologies in the classroom. To this end, DGE created a set of initiatives:

  • Learning Labs / FCL: in partnership with the European Schoolnet (EUN), it consists in the dissemination of methodologies for integrating ICT in the curriculum, which were validated in pilot projects of the European level.
  • Innovative Learning Environments: or "Classrooms of the Future" (SAF) have been launched in several Portuguese schools and intend to establish themselves as learning labs, innovation spaces, for teachers and students, conducive to the use of new technologies, in particular Project-Based and Inquiry-Based Learning.
  • eTwinning: a project that aims to create networks of collaborative work between European schools, which use ICT, in order to develop the European citizenship spirit.


Training and educational tools for teachers

The Resources and Technologies Team is a multidisciplinary team, under the supervision of the Directorate of Educational Projects Services (DSPE) whose mission is the initial, continuous and specialized training of educators and teachers in the field of educational use of ICT in all education cycles and areas, as well as the provision of digital educational resources for the different levels of education, courses, curriculum components and training components.


Learning labs: scenarios and learning stories, it is an initiative developed by the Directorate-General of Education in partnership with European Schoolnet (EUN).  The objective is to raise awareness of a set of digital tools and guidelines available in the Future Classroom Lab (FCL) project from EUN, which supports teachers and schools to create, adapt and implement innovative teaching and learning scenarios in an educational context and the promotion of a "classroom from the future".

Educational resources

Through their portal, the Resources and Technologies Team provides digital educational resources aimed at teachers:

Still within the scope of the European Network of Ministries of Education (European Schoolnet), ME, through the DGE, coordinates a number of pilot projects targeted at teachers:

  • CO-LAB: supports the integration of collaborative teaching and learning in the XXI century classroom, through the training of professional from all over Europe, by qualifying the, to test innovative methods with their students and recommending what works based on a dialogue grounded in evidences between professionals and political decision-makers.
  • MENTEP: Mentoring Technology-Enhanced Pedagogy that envisages the development and validation of an online tool, which allows teachers to know their level of proficiency in the use of ICT for promoting learning, enabling them to control the evolution of this particular set of skills and identify training needs.

ICT Competency Centres

They are centres that result from established protocols between the Ministry of Education  and the entities in which they are integrated - higher education institutions for the most part.  Its mission is to support schools in the educational use of information and communication technologies (ICT), by promoting an innovative education that contributes to the improvement of learning processes.

They develop their activities in school groups and single schools, in all levels of education, in articulation with the Educational Resources and Technologies Team (ERTE) and DGE.


Promoting media literacy and online safety through non-formal and informal learning


Media@ção Competition  

The Media@tion competition is a national contest that aims to contribute to foster in the educational community, particularly students, the critical, responsible and creative use of the media as instruments of citizenship and freedom of expression. The students have to produce a 3 minute digital narrative (Video Format: AVI, FLV, MOV, MP4, MPEG2, MPEG4, WMV/ Audio Format: AAC, FLAC, MP3 or WMA) about the theme that is released annually

This competition is being developed in collaboration with the School Library Network (RBE) and the General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (SGPCM) in partnership with the UNESCO National Commission (CNU), the Directorate General of Education (DGE), the Altice Foundation Portugal (FAPT), the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), the Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth (IPDJ) and the National Reading Plan 2027 (PNL2027). 


Media Literacy Working Group (GILM)

This group – GILM – is a partnership of Directorate General of Education (DGE) with UNESCO National Commission (CNU), the Directorate General of Education (DGE), Regulatory Entity for Social Communication (ERC), Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), National Council of Education (CNE), National Reading Plan 2027 (PNL2027), General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (SGPCM), Radio and Televion of Portugal (RTP), School Library Network (RBE), University of Minho – Center for Communication and Society Studies.

The GILM contribute to an agenda of shared public concern, and to foster the definition of a multidimensional policy of Media and Information Literacy,  with a set of activities:

  • Meetings every months 
  • National congress on media literacy every two years: 2011; 2013; 2015; 2017;2019
  • Informal Media Literacy Forums


National operation 7 Days with the Mediaaround 3rd May

The 7 days with the Media initiative takes place since 2013, and in 2017, its 5th edition was held. 

The initiative takes place every year in May, starting on 3rd - World Press Freedom Day, as it intends to contribute to the discussion on the circulation of information, freedom and quality of public life in the global society. A set of actors - libraries, media, basic and secondary schools, student groups, researchers, municipalities, etc. - can propose activities and initiatives that promote a reflexion about the role of the media in people's lives, promoting media literacy.

Curriculum guidelines for promoting k-12 media literacy.


Working Group – Digital Citizenship Education (DCE) Promoters 

The DCE Promoters is a pilot project of the Council of Europe Division for Education Policies, which aims to enable students to actively participate in the digital society, Portugal is participating in the DCE Network Schools pilot project with 10 Schools. This School Network involves 23 countries in the Member States (Albania, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Slovenia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg, Macedonia

North, Malta, Montenegro, Monte Carlo, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Turkey, Ukraine) and foresees the participation of 233 schools.


Working Group – Media Literacy KIT

This group, which the DGE is part of, is under the responsibility of the Assistant Secretary of State and Education and the Secretary of State for Cinema, Audiovisual and Media, and is in charge of preparing a collection of resources so that teachers can work with media literacy skills with primary and secondary school students.

It is a competition that aims to promote digital media literacy by promoting the creation of digital spaces in the PT domain, encouraging creation and edition of websites in a set of categories: knowledge and science; It make a difference; young people with talent; news at school.

It is aimed at students from 14 to 18 years old (in the case of older students, they must attend regular, vocational, professional education or teaching-learning), who can compete in teams of three elements and a teacher.

Different prizes are awarded according to the category, from cash vouchers for equipment acquisition and educational resources, to a trip to Berlin to IFA 2017, Europe's largest consumer electronics fair.

DECO, through DECO for Young People and the DNS.PT Association are the entities responsible for organising with the collaboration of the DGE and the Inspectorate-General of Cultural Activities (IGAC).


Movement Code in Portugal

Under the Digital Skills Initiative, the national campaign Movement Code in Portugal is created, which intends to raise awareness of citizens to the importance of digital and computational literacy as factors of individual and collective achievement.  It includes initiatives yet to be developed within schools in order to promote digital and computer literacy as inclusion mechanisms for knowledge.

This initiative is promoted by the Government, and counts with the partnership of DGE, FCT and Ciência Viva - National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture.


Media Literacy Portal

The Media Literacy Portal is a website which is a digital resources centre of national reference on this theme by aggregating information, tools for the promotion of projects under Media Literacy, discussion forums, educational materials and resources.

It is intended for all citizens, children, young people and adults, with content specifically developed for students, parents, teachers and researchers.


Raising awareness about the risks posed by new media

Safe Internet

MCTES is responsible for Safe Internet which is a free public service, and its mission is to promote awareness of the safe use of the internet.

The objective is to contribute to the technical and behavioural training of citizens to navigate the Internet safely, through the provision of illegal content monitoring tools. It also provides mechanisms to inform about the negative aspects of massive use of the Internet and information technologies, promoting digital citizenship.

The Safe Internet project's strategic objectives are:

  • Combating illegal content;
  • Minimising the effects of illegal and harmful content on citizens;
  • Promoting the safe use of the Internet;
  • Raising society's awareness of the risks associated to the use of the Internet.

The project collaborates with two international entities: Insafe and Inhope.

CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team)

The Ministry of Education is responsible for network security, unified threat management and content filtering as the holder of the expanded Education Network (about 14,000 public IP's)

Aims to respond to security incidents in the network managed by the Ministry of Education.


Safe Internet helpline

A confidential helpline for the use of online technologies, particularly for issues related to:

  • Sexting;
  • Phishing;
  • Identity theft;
  • Cyberbullying.

Aimed at children, young people, adults and educators. It is a free service during the week.


Alert Line 

Alert Line aims to block illegal content on the internet, in particular Child Pronography, through cooperation with the authorities, at national and international level.

Complaints can be made quickly and anonymously, and the address of the illegal content must be reported through a form.



Under the Safer Internet programme launched by the European Commission in 1999 and its extension Safer Internet Plus in 2005, the ME developed, in 2004, the project SeguraNet, through the former Directorate-General of Innovation and Curriculum Development and its Computers, Networks and Internet Mission Team (DGIDC- CRIE).

Framed within the Safe Internet, the targeted intervention programme SeguraNet aims to minimise the risks of navigating the internet, promoting an informed, critical and safe use. Is intended for students in basic and secondary education.

In SeguraNet's portal, there is information targeted at students and teachers, and adequate information for guardians.

Under the coordination with European entities such as Insafe and Inhope, a number of initiatives are developed, including the European Safe Internet Day with Portugal's involvement since 2004.


ME coordinates SeguraNet Project (the schools’ awareness centre), which is responsable for the Safer Internet Day Campaign, with the Safer Internet Centre, and for the Cybersecurity Campaign in collaboration with the National Cybersecurity Centre, both involving schools and municipalities; Other relevant initiatives are promoted by ME: awareness raising sessions in schools and municipalities (among others) with the support of the national Network of ICT Competence Centres; online and offline information and resources in multiple formats for each of the target publics; the SeguraNet Challenges contest involving students, teachers and parents (covering about 50 000 participants yearly); the Digital Ledears initiative (mentioned in the following topic); participation in the National Defense Day activities (nationwide initiative involving 130 000 young people per year); dissemination of the helpline "Internet Segura" and of the hotline "Linha Alerta" to the educational communities (as member of the Insafe network and of the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre).


Digital Leaders

The initiative Digital Leaders is developed by ME, through DGE - Directorate of Educational Projects Services and the Educational Resources and Technologies Team (ERTE). This initiative is a successor of the Youth Panel - SeguraNet initiative.

The initiative aims to promote behaviours of safe use of the internet and mobile devices. To this end, young people that are a reference in the educational community receive specific training to stimulate training activities targeted at their colleagues and other members of the educational community, and will become SeguraNet advisors.  The activities are held throughout the academic year with the collaboration of SeguraNet and resorting to, among others, the Moodle platform. It is inspired by the Digital Leaders Pilot Programme, from Childnet International (United Kingdom).

In the last edition (2018) the action of the 700 Digital Leaders reached 12 000 participants and some of the Digital Leaders attended the international meetings.

The mentioned SeguraNet initiatives, as well as others within Human Rights Education, have been integrated in the No Hate Speech Movement Campaign, lauched by the Council of Europe in 2013. DGE – ME participated in other activities (seminars, awareness raising sessions, …) promoted by the Campaign National Committee , coordinated by the Portuguese Institute for Sports and Youth – ME.  The No Hate Speech Movement seeks to mobilise young people to prevent combat hate speech and promote human rights online.