Local endogenous development
and urban regeneration of small alpine towns


WP6 Regione Piemonte

A model for an European school in mountain areas

Case-project abstract

To develop a model of public "school in mountain areas" which would allow to:

  • Keep on site the local student population and attract more students from the surroundings and furthermost areas on the bases of excellence and innovation of the education system offered;
  • Keep on site and qualify the local teachers, increasing their sense of belonging and job/life perspective: attract teachers from other mountain areas and nations, promoting the exchange and integration into the local context;
  • Establish a strong relationship with the mountain context, with its economic activities, resources, opportunities for social, cultural and economic development, reinforcing at the same time and mutually school and territory;
  • Define an education strategy based on European languages, especially Alpine, and on a strong scientific curricula, with advanced equipments and methods;
  • Promote the integration of the school into networks of exchanges with other Alpine schools, aimed at the mobility of students, of teachers and ideas; complementary activities linked with sport, nature, culture, also for different targets;
  • Assess options and strategies for the creating students halls and colleges (both for students and external guests in summer).

Reasons for the choice of this case-project

The project-idea has been proposed by the Parco delle Alpi Marittime, who reckon that the quality of the schools is a major aspect for local development in scarcely populated and declining mountain areas. Many families tend now to take their children to schools in major towns (in the area of Cuneo, Dronero, Borgo San Dalmazzo) maybe on their way to work. Similarly many non-local teachers leave the area after a short time.

Adopted methodology
  • Analysis of the state of schools in mountain areas (Piedmont and outside), particular characters, opportunities, good practices (Italy and other Alpine States);
  • The aspects of a theoretical model of school in mountain areas: elements, feasibility (check with current legislation and recent changes, financial needs and opportunities);
  • Analysis of the Maritime Alps area;
  • Definition of a school model applied to the Maritime Alps area;
  • Financial, administrative, technical feasibility.

Expected benefits (local and regional levels)
Local level:
  • Mutual reinforcement between school and territory (economic, social, cultural, etc);
  • Attraction of students, teachers and other inhabitants; dynamism and liveability;
  • New image of the area, as a place for quality of life, excellence and innovation in service provision
Regional level:
  • Social and economic development of the vast area;
  • Availability to other stakeholders of a model of school in mountain areas applicable in other parts of the region and the Alps.

Are follow-up activities foreseen ?

The concrete development of the school should be the follow-up activity.

Expected value added (other than financial) from the participation to an INTERREG project
  • Collection of good practices on schools in mountain areas in other Alpine regions;
  • Plugging in of the project into a network of other Alpine schools, education organisation (also on language and scientific issues); opportunities to exchange students, teachers and work together on common projects;
  • Dissemination of the case project objectives and results in order to achieve visibility and maybe organisational and financial help to set it up and manage it

Output indicators

1 feasibility study

Impact indicators

Involvement of many experts and local stakeholders into the project, in order to take it forward to the implementation phase Visibility of the results

Name of the town/s concerned

The small towns most likely to be concerned are Entracque and Valdieri, where the local schools are located at the moment. The project area is the area of the Park and surroundings.

Demographic, social and economic situation of the town/s concerned and specifically identified problems

Entracque has a population of 800 inhab. and Valdieri of 965 (2004). These towns have lost population constantly. Most of the local people work further down the plain towards Borgo San Dalmazzo and Cuneo. There is some family-oriented local tourism, with low expenditure capacity (no sky resorts, only country-skiing).

Role of the mountain resource within the local development chances of the town/s concerned (positive or negative)

The role so far has been mainly negative, an obstacle to the forms of economic development that where taking place in the lowland and in other parts of the Alps. The area is known as a tourist resort, but has few alternative economic activities.
The regional park Parco delle Alpi Marittime was established only in 1995, as a consequence of the union of the Parco Naturale dell'Argentera with the Riserva del Bosco e dei Laghi di Palanfré. It is the most extended Park in Piemonte and one of the largest in Italy. A number of peaks more than 3.000 mt. high, lakes, grasslands, small glaciers, the abundance of Alpine fauna and of botanical species constitute a unique environmental heritage.
It has become one of the most proactive actors of the area (environmental and cultural activities).
In twinship with the French National Park of the Mercantour since 1987, it preserves an area of 100,000 hectares which in 1993 has been given the "European Diploma for the Environment".

Expected contribution of the foreseen actions towards the development of the town/s concerned
  • Incoming of new population (and consequently new activities)
  • Promotion of the area

Who is the responsible for the concrete development of the project?

At the moment, only Parco delle Alpi Marittime has been officially involved.
Regione Piemonte has been consulting many education experts to devise an appropriate project team. The Ministerial organisation in Piemonte will be involved, as the local mountain communities.

How are activities sub-contracted?

Most likely a Convenzione (agreement between public bodies) will be signed between parties

Beside the partner, which administrative authorities are involved in the project? How?

The local Mountain communities will be involved. The schools will be involved actively by the Park (students, teachers and parents).

Who are the main local/regional project actors?

Local schools, Towns and Mountain communities, school organisations, cultural bodies

Are there important actors who are not integrated or are opposing the project?


The case is isolated or integrated within a broader frame/ programme of activities? How? How are these activities being financed?

The regional delegation of the Ministry of Education has undertaken some initial studies on the question together with the Regione.
This will be a concrete and applied study.

Timetable for the project development (July 2004 - May 2006)

First phase (June – July – August 2005):

  • constitution of the work group
  • logistic organization
  • distribution of tasks within the gorup
  • identification of general objectives

Second phase (September – October – November – December 2005):

  • focus and various meetings of the work group
  • research and analysis of similar Italian and French cases
  • survey construction to record needs
  • first meeting with Piedmont Region to monitor the project

Third phase (January – February – March 2006):

  • survey distribution and data processing
  • meetings with the Councillorship for Mountains of Piedmont Region
  • meetings with CSA (Centre for Administrative Services) of Cuneo
  • first meetings with municipal authorities
  • second meeting with Piedmont Region for monitoring

Fourth phase (April – May – June 2006):

  • Financial Plan and check up of the buildings
  • School visits of Vadeblore and St. Etienne de Tinèe
  • Best Practices delivery and project conclusion

Are experts (non SSC) involved into the case and research activities undertaken for the case? What is their role?

Quite a few education experts may be involved in developing the study on:

  • Language issues
  • Scientific issues
  • Student housing question
  • Local school system
  • Administrative and management aspects
  • Others..