Vittorio Silvestrini for a relaunch of scientific education and technological innovation

The article of Vittorio Silvestrini, President of CittàdellaScienza, published on Il Mattino of Sunday, January 6, 2013

Callto re-launch science and technology education
More dignity to schools and teachers: the challenge ahead

The analysis of Giorgio Israel on the education needed to change the Country (thing that we all hope) offers much “food for thought” starting from some considerations done  about the recent experience of the technical government” in Italy. The time and resources available, but most of all the “almost scientific” work of dismantling the education system in the last decades, have not been sufficient to recover it in few months.
Much more if we speak of a strategic field, such as education, where essentials are: the significance of the work, why and for whom you do it, what is the context and the social and ethical perspectives.
Recognising the work of teachers rather than considering them as useless idlers; bringingback to school itssocial role against early school dispersion and crime and degradation; enhancingall positive practices existing in schools today, restoring the role and value of teachers, principals and  educators;introducing , even if in an experimenting way new technologies in the daily practice of teachers and families; these are words which I personally agree with and which I think is worthwhile to work on.
But obviously this is not enough. And Israel does the right  thing by introducing the issue of contents, which is the real political issue on how we consider our Country, not how it is today, but how we want it will be in the future.
Which model of development do we have in mind for our society? What are the resources to focus on? Which sectors should we put at the centre of investment and development programs? And more important, which Italy do we want, in the European and global context?
I believe these are the real questions that politics and the next government will have to respond by making clear decisions, that will have obvious repercussions and consequences on the education system. But I think,  this absolutely does not mean a theoretical planning; as a scientist, I know how much important is a curiosity-driven research; as well as a widespread culture, with rich debates, and the free circulation of  ideas. At the same time, it is clear that the Government will operate some choices in relation to the decisions made. In the global context today and looking at global trends it  is necessary to focus strongly on two axes: on one hand the resources  of our Country that can not be expropriated (art, culture, heritage and cultural landscape, lifestyle and handicraft production of high quality); on the other hand to re-launch the competitiveness sectors scientifically and technologically–(ICT solutions for smart cities and sustainability, life sciences and health )- in which Italy has so much to say,  but is often obligedto do so abroad.

profumo silvestrini

Concerning this second axis, I believe it is necessary for the new government to reinforce massively science and technology  education, looking without provincialism to what happens abroad and in particular in those countries, where there is a close cooperation between the formal education system – schools and universities – and the numerous institutions of informal or free choice learning, which are often a great place to experiment new educational ideas as well as technological and methodological innovations.
In the few past months, Città della Scienza of Naples has implemented with the Ministry of Education, a lot of positive actions among which LogicaMente, a program to increase the mathematics and science competences among  students and in the society at all, which aims to involve thousands of teachers and students throughout Italy. An example is the  Smart Education and Technology Days, organised in Naples in October, and displaying the best practices carried out by teachers and students with ICTs in the education field (see RAI Scuola website) showing how schools have involved in those past years.  Coordinating and motivating so much energy is perhaps the first and most important task for the new Minister, without losing the work done last year and, most importantly, without “putting everyone into the same basket”.

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