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Research and Innovation for the Italian School

indireinforma

5 aprile 2018

The Small Schools Movement at the OECD’s Rural Development Conference

Translation by Giulia Lombardo

From 9 to 12 April, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, of which Indire is partner, runs the 11thRural Development Conference” in Edinburgh. The event brings together experts and institutional representatives to discuss future perspectives for innovation in rural areas. Numerous global changes have posed a series of challenges to rural areas which are now called to address them, in order to continue to be part of the economic and social system and avoid being marginalised. Therefore, sustaining innovation processes is crucial to guarantee the growth and wellbeing of the population.

Upon this premise, leading policy makers, the private sector, and renowned experts will meet in Scotland to exchange experiences and good practices on issues related to innovation in European rural areas. Indire is going to participate by offering the experience of the small schools movement which brings together more than 80 small schools in Italy’s geographically disadvantaged areas.

The institute’s participation in an event at European level is an important occasion for the small schools movement to confront with, and make themselves known to, other European countries. Indeed, small schools know what it means to live and develop in a “not so favourable” territory. The series of OECD  rural conferences started in 2002 in Siena and it has offered political officers a forum for positive dialogue aimed at strengthening networks of relationships and encouraging knowledge exchange on themes relating to agricultural development. The regularity of these meetings helped OECD in the definition of measures and interventions in support of rural areas, enabling also the evaluation of their impact at European level.

What are the small schools?

Since many years, Indire has been promoting the permanence of small schools in geographically isolated areas, in order to maintain an educational and cultural stronghold and combat depopulation. Indire’s research enabled some of these schools on the islands and in mountain areas to experiment co-working methods thanks to distance learning models and videoconferencing systems. The small schools movement was born out of this first experimental project. On 10 June 2017 in Favignana, the movement signed its manifesto, an instrument for sharing values and practices. Its aim is to bring together all the schools wishing to cooperate, to grow and overcome the difficulties inherent to the territory they operate on.

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