Networks, Communities and Partnerships in Education: actors, goals and results

For the last three decades, educational systems worldwide have known normative transformations on their organization, in a context of (de)centralization and school autonomy. The reflection about recent trends in educational policies points to a role transformation of some school and civil society actors in education, as they set their framework of constraints and possibilities.

In this context, schools have to assume certain responsibilities, namely to relate and build themselves with the surrounding community, both in identifying and sharing common goals or values and in strategically mobilizing resources to address needs or enhance opportunities offered by local contexts. Families, local community institutions and other actors interested in education are in turn called to have a more active role in education, either by informal contacts, representation in school boards or participation in specific programs and projects.

Projects involving networks and partnerships between schools and/ or other educational actors are becoming more common nowadays, trying to address some particular issues such as the promotion of educational success, the reduction of school-leavers or draw attention to questions as environment or volunteering. A certain number of these emerge by the initiative of schools, university researchers, local actors or civil society organizations and work with relative autonomy.

Collaborative networks are being conceptualized as a new tool of school administration and organization based on horizontal relationships in order to achieve common goals, sometimes framed by social network analysis, namely in association to social capital concept, or as communities.

Within this context, some salient questions arise, such as: How are networks/ partnerships in education built, by whom, how do they work and for what purpose(s)? Do they constitute a regulatory instance in educational systems? Does the participation in networks and partnerships have positive effect on learning and results? Does it contribute to transform educational practices? What kind of networks worldwide perform for better schooling? What is the role of strategic planning in education?

This Congress aims to share experiences and scientific studies of networks and partnerships in education, appealing to the participation of professionals and researchers in the field. Prospective presenters are encouraged to submit abstracts that offer reflection on practical experiences, new research or theoretical contributions, preferentially in the three following areas:

1) School/ Families partnerships;
2) School networks;
3) School/ local community partnerships and strategic planning