Universidade Aberta – 30 years building the future

The Universidade Aberta (UAb) – Portugal was founded in 1988 and became the single public distance education university in Portugal. From then on, that UAb assumed as its central mission to offer higher education studies to everyone, everywhere, without geographical or physical borders, especially in Portuguese language.

Currently, the Portuguese is effectively spoken by approximately 300 million people; it is the 5th most spoken language in the world, the 3rd most spoken language in the Western Hemisphere, and the most widely spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere of the planet. The Portuguese is still the 3rd most used language on Facebook and the 5th largest used on the Internet.

The target population of Universidade Aberta was, and still is, constituted mainly by a Portuguese-speaking adult population that (i) in due time was not able to get to University or to finish a higher education degree, (ii) is already engaged professionally and/or wishes to update/reconvert previously acquired knowledge, (iii) has family responsibilities.

30 years after, Universidade Aberta keeps its commitment and brings higher education studies, in Portuguese language, closer to people anywhere in the world, by having resource of the most update technologies in terms of distance education.

Since 2008 that all programs are taught in e-learning mode, the year that UAb became a European institution of reference in the area of advanced e-learning and online learning through the recognition of its exclusive Virtual Pedagogical Model.

In 2010, UAb has been awarded the Prize EFQUEL by the European Foundation for Quality in E-learning and certified with the UNIQUe Quality Label for the use of ICT in Higher Education (Universities and Institutes). In the same year, UAb was also qualified by an international panel of independent experts as the reference institution for teaching in e-learning system in Portugal.

Within the European levels of excellence framework, the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) distinguished UAb with the 1st Level of Excellence Committed to Excellence (C2E) in 2011.

In 2016, UAb’s commitment to quality has been recognized again by EFQM that distinguished the University with 4 Stars in the 2nd Level of Excellence Recognized for Excellence (R4E).

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, UAb has been carrying out different initiatives during 2018. Among these, two initiatives stand out:

  1. The constitution of the Distance Education Association for the Portuguese-speaking Countries in May 2018. With the patronage of CPLP, Universidade Aberta brought together, as founding members, universities from Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Mozambique, S. Tome and Principe and Timor Lorosa’e.
  2. The Conference Future of Distance Education in Portuguese Language, held in the 29th and 30th November 2018, that brought together representatives from all the Portuguese-speaking countries in the area of Education.

The Conference Future of Distance Education in Portuguese Language was sponsored by the President of the Portuguese Republic, who awarded the Honorary Membership of the Order of Merit to Universidade Aberta during the opening session.

Further information at the Conference webpage.