With its 25.200 inhabitants, located at a strategic road communication node in the north-centre area of Portugal, 2,5 hours from Lisbon, 45 min. from Porto and 15 min. from Aveiro, all of them with important national sea ports, its geostrategic position has helped it become an important industrial hub with 2.350 businesses and over 3.300 jobs in metallurgy alone. Despite its growing economy and population (faster than national and regional rates), youth unemployment is high.

Recognising a shortage in its qualified workforce, the city has prioritised education: a) to improve overall population education results, and b) to respond to the new labour market needs and challenges. This includes integrating new pedagogical proposals, inspiring a “learning by doing” approaches for innovation projects and getting parents’ associations more involved to consolidate the sense of education community.

The efforts are paying off, with school dropout going from 3,3% to 1,2% since 2011 and the rate of finished compulsory education today stands at 86%.

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The recognition of the role and influence that local political leaders can play in support of education innovation has been a key success factor for Albergaria-a-Velha. Our Mayor and, particularly, our Deputy Mayor, Catarina Mendes, have been closely following and participating in the transfer process and have ensured the financial sustainability of the Network project. 

The small size of Albergaria has also been an asset in this project because it has meant that the education community members who already knew each other from previous local initiatives, have taken a step forward as a network of educational innovators.

Among the key successes the following can be highlighted:

  • We have now a more innovative and dynamic framework for innovative action under the umbrella of the Educational Innovation Network. This has enabled different agents (educational and non-educational) to coordinate their efforts in ways that otherwise they would not have been able.
  • ON BOARD has helped a group of education stakeholders to initiate new dialogues, opportunities and deeper meanings about education innovation. The involvement and commitment of different partners catalysed each one’s knowledge and activated the feeling of belonging. The project has promoted a greater sense of being part of the education community of innovators.
  • The network project has also created the space for sharing and exploring new practices for and with schools, teachers, students, families and community members, including companies, through carrying out different pilot projects.
  • We have gained greater visibility of local projects and the community by “exporting” our own experience. For example, the initiative called PiGo, a creative and enterprising event, based on Pi (π, 3.14 ...) and organised by students’ themselves. This project has been transferred to other ON BOARD partners who will be reproducing it in their cities.
  • Through ON BOARD, too, our school community itself was able to know about projects by other local partners. Other piloting initiatives for 2022 will be Tech@School, Robotics, and Adventures of Feelings and Thoughts. The latter will further generate and enrich a reflection already ongoing in the city, around students´ well-being, their social and psychological development for their integral growth.

Albergaria-a-Velha’s EducationalInnovation Network KeyCommunity Members

Slide Students 
University of Aveiro Civil servants from different municipal departments: Education, Entrepreneurship
 Elected authorities
 Teachers and headmasters from schools
 Local entrepreneurs
 Parents' associations from Albergaria and Branca parishes





Teachers and principals




involved in ON BOARD projects and activities



directly participating in activities and meetings



participating in ON BOARD activities and meetings



that have contributed to the project


Local entities

participating in ON BOARD activities and meetings


Mayors and councillors

who have participated in meetings or events of the network


People from the municipal staff

involved in the project


Pilot Projects

initiated in your city





Albergaria-a-Velha voices

See whatON BOARD partner citieshave achieved

Diversity bolstered ON BOARD’s learning and exchange project. They all represent a diversity of focuses and interests in education, but they also have in common Education as a strategic development priority for their cities