Location/geographical coverage

Open University, Portugal

Education and training in prisons in Portugal

Background and description

The EducOnline@Pris Digital Campus (educonlinepris.uab.pt) is a project developed in partnership between the Open University (Universidade Aberta – UAb) and the DGRSP – Directorate-General of Reintegration and Prison Services / PT (Direção Geral de Reinserção e Serviços Prisionais), protocol signed in 2016 (https://portal.uab.pt/o-campus-digital-educonlinepris/), which promotes education and training in prisons in Portugal (https://www.europris.org/agency/dgrsp-general-directorate-of-probation-and-prison-services-pt/

The Educonline@pris Digital Campus has a comprehensive portal, based on four platforms, one which gives access to the Open University’s bachelor, masters and doctoral degrees, via eLearning UAb; another with university extension courses and actions, i.e., ON@Pris, developed specifically for the inmate population, with non-degree courses, certified with the INCoDE stamp (https://www.incode2030.gov.pt), in the areas of Active Citizenship and Participation, Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship, Health Literacy, Communication and Human Relations Skills and Digital Competence and Citizenship; a third platform, i.e., Aula Aberta, which allows inmate students to access resources and contents from different subject areas available at Universidade Aberta; and a fourth platform, i.e., Academic Portal UAb, which integrates a set of services, allowing for the centralization of users’ management and corresponding profiles, management of enrolments and events or specific notices.

When it was created, the Campus was expected to provide an effective response to the needs of inmate students, meaningfully increasing the quality of digital education in prisons. Currently, the Campus is working in about 15 prisons in Portugal and the digital platform that allows the access to Higher Education courses is being used by more than a hundred inmate students attending bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four departments of the Open University.

This project intends to respond to some of the challenges that the digital society and the new technologies pose to Distance Education and eLearning, especially in contexts of great social vulnerability, as is the case of the inmate population, contributing, at the same time, to guarantee the right of access to education that any citizen should have, in compliance with the respect for the human rights of individuals deprived or not of freedom.

Stakeholders and Partners

The Open University (Universidade Aberta – UAb)

The DGRSP – Directorate-General of Reintegration and Prison Services / PT (Direção Geral de Reinserção e Serviços Prisionais)

Contact details

Coordinator: Prof. José António Moreira

URL of the practice Reference document


INMATEStudents – Adult Education as a Tool for Reintegration / A Educação de Adultos como Instrumento para a Reinserção. Polytechnical Institute of Coimbra(Coimbra 2011):  –  https://comum.rcaap.pt/bitstream/10400.26/13031/1/ANDREA_HOMEM.pdf

Socially-inclusive learning culture and EWSs & Identification of Sustainable Development Goals (UN/SDG – 2015-2030) per HEI in Portugal (2015-): https://www.dgert.gov.pt/ebook-sustentabilidade-objetivos-de-desenvolvimento-sustentavel-ods-nas-praticas-das-instituicoes-de-ensino-e-formacao