The guys of 5G
The interview with Sara Lazzaro on the theme of school and relationship of adolescents with the social model proposed by adults especially in the last year of the pandemic continues.
Everyday life and sociality have changed dramatically in the recent months. But those who suffered the greatest consequences of the pandemic were almost certainly the students. Lack of spaces and connections for distance learning, increasing risk of students who will not complete their studies. Can we talk about generational damage?
The most serious damage is that many high school students have abandoned the school. These kids found themselves at some point locked at home with no possibility of socializing, maybe with difficulties in connecting, with fragile family and financial situations: they got lost on their way and no one went to rescue them. At the time of the first lockdown it was not possible to intervene in any way. Later, at the end of 2020 the political message sent was (and politics is the history of a country, the culture of a country) “…at Christmas you can spend in shops but the museum remains closed”. The message expected from the institutions is that education and culture are priorities. It is not possible to present once again as a social model the one in which the fundamental characteristic of man is productivity. This message psychologically hurts kids because it tells them that school and learning are of little importance.
I therefore believe that the risk is that of having a very high school drop-out rate that we will pay expensively, even from the economic point of view: We will have less skilled workers and fewer job opportunities.
Creating a generation with a lack of content, relational issues, educational deficit on citizenship and self-awareness means having citizens who will be full of problems and this will affect the whole society. Not to mention the fact that the years of adolescence are years in which the relationship with the community is fundamental to education. The disappearance of all this will create a social fracture. We will be less a community and more single individuals. That, too, is the risk.
What can we learn from this historical period and what measures can we take to ensure the right to study of all adolescents?
The right to study must be guaranteed at 360 degrees: it cannot be solved by making the students go to school sitting at their desks as if that was the only problem. It’s also needed a different idea, a different focus.
The paradigm needs to change, that is, education and culture must be priorities and political, technical and practical choices must be aimed at this. For example, we could reduce the number of pupils per class and increase the number of teachers to ensure the presence of the whole class. I am convinced that within politics the economic resources can be found, perhaps by cutting military expenses and investing more in school.
Will the economic and social crisis experienced since 2020 condition the choice of adolescents in the various schools?
Yes, unfortunately it’s already affecting it! Especially middle school, which in recent years has been ran in a discontinuous way, therefore with a very fragile acquisition of skills, is pushing families to make more practical choices towards more technical fields of study or that in any case orient immediately to work; families fear they cannot afford their children’s university studies. Even more so at a time when the pandemic has exacerbated the economic crisis already in place, the model of success and money can become even more violent, especially for those who are most disadvantaged.
All this is sad because the kids should choose according to their vocation instead. Let’s think, for example, of the boom in technical-scientific faculties for which many students, although not particularly inclined to those subjects or enthusiastic about mathematics, physics or engineering, they register in those faculties because they think they can find a good job, especially well paid. And this is also the cause of university dropouts. While in high school, total neglect is significant, but in a low percentage, in university, once you leave, no one comes to knock at home, therefore you get lost.
In our high school 92% of pupils went to university, but already last year we dropped to 87%.
For example, if you have a family shop you send your child to work there and so the children are forced, as a century ago to continue the paths of their parents because they are the ones that guarantee economic security, rather than follow their aspirations. In my opinion it is precisely a generational damage because the failure to free oneself from the family of origin has considerable psychological repercussions.
Will it be necessary to review school programmes and introduce new subjects in the coming years?
It is unbelievable to me that information technology is taught only in certain technical institutions and is not compulsory in every school.
The kids, the famous digital natives, seem to be digitized because they use Facebook or Instagram but if they have to organize a program, use Excel, or other software they are not as prepared as you might imagine.
I also do not understand why psychopedagogical subjects should be the prerogative of the only socio-psycho-pedagogical high school, ex magistrale. Subjects such as law and psychology (beyond the general teaching of civic education), could be fundamental teaching for everyone. The relational dynamics, the psychic aspects of evolutionary age could be studied in science courses. But why do I need to know the physiology of the body and not the physiology of the mind? As if the mind was not there or did not count. It is a monstrous denial of reality and so we find ourselves with a feminicide a day!: the relational dynamics between the male and the female, what is and what is not sexuality, is it possible that they are topics that cannot yet enter the school?
Exactly one year into the pandemic, we’re back in the red zone. The hope is that there is a project from the institutions, but the feeling is that we are sailing on sight, waiting for the pharmaceutical companies to deliver a large amount of vaccines for adults. In the meantime the schools close, everyone is back in DAD (Distance Learning), but there is no idea for a distance teaching that can be functional and innovative.
It would be necessary to have a society that deals with the present and the future of adolescents, that considers the fact that in the last year the psychological malaise of kids has increased, as the numbers (so dear in this period) exposed by health organizations say. So the kids react with violence, meet in the streets and fight: they are irresponsible! But is it really so?
Nobody cares about their difficulties, their reality, but above all their identity. They are only little men and women who will grow up sooner or later, they will be adults and vaccinated! For now, let’s “distance” them.
The only perspective so far proposed to students is the race to return to a “normality”, to the previous state, to what was life until 2019.
But 2019 is prehistoric, there were dinosaurs!
Walter Di Mauro
Thanks to Chiara Fanasca for the translation of this article