Rural Schools and Local Development in Portugal

Rehabilitation, Participation and Socio-educational Innovation


  • Joana Lúcio CIEd - Research Centre in Education, University of Minho
  • Fernando Ferreira CIEC - Research Centre on Child Studies, University of Minho; Institute of Education, University of Minho



rural schools, local development, socio-educational practices, good practices, participatory research, community participation


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.

Author Biographies

Joana Lúcio, CIEd - Research Centre in Education, University of Minho

Joana Lúcio holds a Doctorate (2012) and a Bachelor’s degree (2007) in Educational Sciences from the University of Porto (Portugal). She is currently a Research Fellow at CIEd (Research Centre in Education), University of Minho (Portugal), within the project ‘EDUPLACES: Practices, voices and pathways of inclusive education’ (PTDC/MHC-CED/3775/2014). Her previous work experience includes training in socio-educational mediation and conflict management. She has been collaborating with the European Educational Research Association’s Network 14, Communities, Families and Schooling, since 2010, acting as a link convenor between 2012 and 2015. Her research interests include the Educating Cities movement, mediation and non-formal/informal educational processes.

Fernando Ferreira, CIEC - Research Centre on Child Studies, University of Minho; Institute of Education, University of Minho

Fernando Ferreira is an Associate Professor at the University of Minho (Portugal). He holds a Doctorate in Child Studies (University of Minho) and a master's degree in Education (University of Porto, Portugal). As a researcher, he is affiliated with the Research Centre on Child Studies (University of Minho). He has more than one hundred publications, addressing issues such as educational policies, sociology of education, community development, rural education, teacher education, school organisation and childhood studies, and has supervised several master dissertations and PhD theses in these areas. He has participated in several national and international research projects, mainly in Europe and Brazil, focused on teacher education and adult education. Also he is a scientific and pedagogical consultant for a regional in-service 'teachers centre' and a local 'Priority Education' school group, located in a vulnerable and multicultural area. He is also an activist committed to the promotion of citizenship and participatory democracy. His research interests include childhood and teacher education in relationship with the issues of social inequalities, child poverty and children's rights.



08-09-2017 — Updated on 01-07-2017


How to Cite

Lúcio, J., & Ferreira, F. (2017). Rural Schools and Local Development in Portugal: Rehabilitation, Participation and Socio-educational Innovation. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 27(2), 122–135. (Original work published September 8, 2017)