Are there almost 17,000 teachers at the top of their careers, as the Minister of Education says? | TRUE

The phrase

“Since we thawed careers, more than 90% of teachers have already advanced two levels. We went from having 7 teachers at the top of their careers to almost 17,000 teachers at the top of their careers”.

João Costa, Minister of Education

The context

Teachers do not disarm in the demand for recovery of the six years, six months and 23 days of service time during which their progressions were frozen and which were not considered when the career “clock” started counting again, in 2018 .

The trade unions have made it known that there will be no agreement in the ongoing negotiation with the Ministry of Education – which formally only concerns the recruitment regime and public tenders for the profession – without a commitment from the guardianship regarding the recovery of length of service.

Minister João Costa himself had already opened the door, two weeks ago, to finding solutions to minimize the effects of the career freeze, recognizing that there is “a group that was much more affected than another”. This weekend, in an interview with Newspaper and the TSFthe minister anticipated that there will be negotiations on this matter.

It was also in this interview that he stated that there are now “almost 17,000 teachers at the top of their career”. Since the thawing of progressions “more than 90%” of teachers have already advanced two steps, he also said, a fact that he had already referred to on other occasions, since the beginning of the year, in the context of ongoing negotiations with teachers’ representatives.

the facts

The analysis carried out by PÚBLICO compares data from December 2017, before the thawing of civil service careers, and the numbers from December of last year, made available by the Ministry of Education. There are no other official data. The figures confirm that there are “almost 17,000 teachers at the top of their careers”. There were, at the end of the last calendar year, precisely 16,584.

Five years earlier, there were no teachers in the 10th step, the highest in the teaching career, but a year later, as a result of the thawing of progressions, 5053 professionals were already on that level.

The National Federation of Teachers (Fenprof), through its leader Vítor Godinho, considers “logical” the numbers advanced by the minister, noting that, as early as January 2018, there were “a large number of teachers” rising to the last step because they already met the criteria set in a transitional period provided for by law and which was then extinguished. In addition, the two years, nine months and 18 days considered by the Government at the time “even incomplete and in a phased manner” allowed teachers to “quickly progress”.

The numbers confirm not only the total of teachers at the top of the career indicated by the Minister of Education, but also suggest progressions in more than one moment, for the majority of teachers in the cadres, as was also said by João Costa. This happened in the 10th step, and, for example, in the 8th, which “emptied” after the thawing of careers —going from 11,938 teachers in December 2017 to just 158 ​​a year later —, but returned to “fill-up” if” since then. At the end of last year, there were 8882 professors at this level.

The analysis of the remaining career levels points in the same direction. The first two levels went, in five years, from a total of 23,579 teachers to just 2,324. The third level also has almost 7,000 fewer teachers – there are now 11,368.

What the most recent data also show is a continued accumulation of teachers in the 4th and 6th grades – 25,743 and 17,552, respectively – as a result of the existence of “quotas” in accessing the 5th and 7th grades, which have also been one of the demands of teachers in recent months.


The statement by the Minister of Education is true since, at the end of last year, there were already almost 17 thousand teachers in the 10th step, the highest in the teaching career and the numbers also point to the fact that the progressions have taken place in more than a moment over the past five years.

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