Rural Schools and Local Development in Portugal: Rehabilitation, Participation and Socio-educational Innovation
“À Descoberta do Mundo Rural” [Discovering the Rural World] was a 15-month-long project, based on a partnership between the Institute of Educational Communities (ICE) and the Portuguese Association for Local Development (ANIMAR), both Portuguese NGOs, and financed by national and European funds. Its purpose was to identify and give visibility to formal and informal local development initiatives taking place in rural contexts across Portugal. The research team contacted and visited several places and talked directly with the initiatives’ representatives, as well as with other locally relevant social actors, such as representatives of local governments, schools, associations and charity organisations. Based on a participatory community-based research, local development was conceptualised as an educational process from a broader perspective than that of schooling. Through eight selected case studies, this paper focuses on how rural schools promote, participate in or otherwise contribute to the socio-educational development of the communities in which they are located.
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