"Our best investment over this period is in Culture and Education. This is the true heritage that we can leave ", said the Mayor of Lagoa, Francisco Martins, at the First Regional Meeting of Educating Cities, held last October 2 and 3, in the Auditorium of the Convent of St. Joseph.
This Regional Meeting, whose main objective is to reinforce and disseminate the proposal of the Educating City, sharing experiences and educative ideas among the Algarve municipalities and winning the reception of the VIII National Congress of the Portuguese Territorial Network of Educating Cities (TTPC), to be held between May 15 and 18, 2019, are one of the samples of the work that the municipality has developed in this matter.
Lagoa is one of the 73 territories that belong to Educating Cities Network. At the opening of this meeting, Francisco Martins proudly highlights some of the most recent achievements: "For the second consecutive year, the municipality won the Living Equality Award, along with four other municipalities in the country," and will develop, from 2019, "A Participative Citizenship project".
The first steps towards Educating Cities emerged in the 1970s and the concept was formalized by Barcelona in 1990. Today 490 cities / local governments / territories are part of the Educating Cities Association, from 36 countries and five continents.
Despite the growing presence in the local communities of "sharing, seeking solutions together, valuing practices in a broad perspective of Education," as Paulo Louro says, "there are still some who have limited representation. There are still those who believe that the entities responsible for Education are the School and the Family; or that the time of Education is only childhood and youth; and there are still those who have a conception that Education is equal to instruction. "
For this representative of the Coordinating Commission of the Portuguese Territorial Network of Educating Cities (RTPCE), who participated in the Roundtable on October 2, "Lagoa, Cidade Educadora – a network challenge", "we live in societies that have difficulty in dealing with time and all those who work in the field of Education know how fundamental this is in learning. " Therefore, he adds, "local governments should increasingly promote knowledge", gain "the tendency to define policies to the detriment of national governments" and "bet on the issue of identity through the virtual, connecting people to the territory where they were born or studied. "
"We want everyone to realize that an Educating City does not focus on education," says Francisco Martins. "For its construction", he adds, "we have 450 employees and a budget of 35 million euros". "Environment, Sport, Culture, Education and Citizenship are all topics that are part of this Lagoon – Educating City", he adds.
This is after all, according to the Charter of Educating Cities, a territory "where it is educated throughout life, in diversity, with intergenerational dialogue and with the right to the existence of formal, non-formal and informal education." "And what is the commitment of the local governments that sign the letter?" Asks Paulo Louro, answering: "Perpetuate the identity of the territory, carry out an urban planning that promotes user-friendliness, the relationship between the individuals, generate sustainable development that does not mortgage the resources of future generations, responsible civic participation and the provision of a comprehensive service to the citizen, planning what the educational responses are according to the development needs of the subjects and the needs of the labor market. " In this way, there are added value such as "associativism, social cohesion, social justice and the fight against info-exclusion."
"Lagoa was already an Educating City before it was," said the Speaker of the Municipal Assembly at the time. Águas da Cruz points out that "there has been a lot of practices in Lagoa that integrate the concept and the great principles of the Charter of Educating Cities" and that this contributes to "living the Educating City without having the perception of the concept."
This issue has, for the Speaker of the Municipal Assembly, "the privilege of placing citizens and human rights at the forefront of municipal public life." "We would like, therefore," he added, "that all agents, private and public, all citizens, form a local network that could be expanded, so as to build an educational city that would allow the exercise of global citizenship."
Águas da Cruz also recalled the privileged relationship maintained with schools and associations, "a work of proximity" that the Councilor of Culture, Ana Martins classifies as "very positive" and "privileged". Mário Guerreiro and Anabela Ribeiro, presidents of the Parents 'Association of the ESPAMOL Group and the Parents' Assembly of the Rio Arade School Group reiterate, however, the idea that there is a growing difficulty in "motivating parents who are mainly concerned with education formal education of the student ".
The last day (October 3), whose main theme was "Creating educational cities in the Algarve", was also attended by the sociologist and coordinator of the Network of Participative Authorities (RAP), Nelson Dias ("Participation in educational cities"), , followed by an exhibition of experiences on the 20 principles in force in the Educating Cities of the Algarve municipalities, a space for open debate and a visit to the Fernando Rodrigues School of Arts.