The drama of childhood in Calabria, Princi: “We work for a child

Territorial educational poverty linked to childhood is one of the many gaps that Calabria needs to fill. The reading of the XIII edition of the Atlas of children at risk in Italy, released in view of the World Childhood and Adolescence Day by Save the Children, once again this year captures the dramatic nature of the living conditions of children and adolescents in our country but above all in our Region. Inequality and poverty sadly affect children’s health: between Calabria and the province of Bolzano there is a gap of over 12 years in life expectancy in good health; it is not only the health system that influences children’s health, above all, the social factors linked to the territorial context in which one grows up, the economic conditions, the level of education, the environment, social networks and services weigh heavily. It is a sad reality determined, unfortunately, by the lack or minimal attention always recorded, one might say, towards childhood policies, which has thus continued to fuel, over the years, educational poverty, i.e. the condition of deprivation of study, cultural, sports and play opportunities that has compromised the development of our children. It is too obvious to say that we want to protect childhood, that we need to “invest” in the new generations for the construction of the future, we need to do it with facts.

Enhancement of educational services

“And on the subject of concreteness, as soon as they took office, with the president Occhiuto and with the whole Giunta – declares the vice president with responsibility for education Giusi Princi – it was immediately desired that the competence in the matter of Promotion of the Integrated Education System and of Education, was incardinated in the Education Department, with a view to strengthening the educational continuity, qualification of educational services and enhancement of this intended segment to become a strong point in regional policies. The Department of Education, subsequently calling together all the Municipalities of Calabria, through the Territorial Areas and the ANCI, carried out a census of all the structures, educational services present in the Calabrian territory and resources not spent over the years. The survey and programmatic work revealed that the resources available to Calabria will be over 70 million euros to deal with the territorial educational poverty linked to childhood. The resources allocated to local authorities will be able to finance in the coming years: new childcare facilities, expansion of educational services (places and times), reduction of fees paid by families. Memoranda of understanding with Usr and Anci will be linked to these structural interventions which provide for massive training actions for the educational and teaching staff of public and private pre-school schools and training of pedagogical coordinators. The regional co-financing quota, in addition to training, will be destined for the establishment of educational poles for children and pedagogical coordination and for the activation of new spring sections”.

Educating communities

“We have started a season of discussion and dialogue with local authorities and with all the institutional actors involved, creating cEducating communities that are “guardians” of a precious asset to be protected, such as childhood and adolescence in general – says the vice president with responsibility for education Giusi Princi -, the goal is to make Calabria a child-friendly region, guaranteeing all pre-school children equal opportunities for development and for overcoming inequalities and territorial, social, cultural and economic barriers. The expansion, as well as the accessibility of regional services for children, continues the vice president, are precisely one of the most important missions of president Occhiuto and of the entire regional council. Priority will also be to increase, in the short term, the resources provided to the Calabrian Municipalities in order to be able to protect the right to study by guaranteeing essential services to families and above all for students living in conditions of particular fragility: specialist assistance, teaching aids and equipment for the integration of disabled pupils, contributions on meal vouchers relating to the canteen service, contributions for the cost of residential services (boarding and semi-boarding schools), school transport, school activities in hospital, home schooling. These are, concludes Princi, the real opportunities that will allow us to restore the smile to our children denied by adults and institutions for too long and deaf to their cry of pain. For us this day is emblematic and symbolic. We are working so that every day is November 20, the day of the rights of the child”.

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The drama of childhood in Calabria, Princi: “We work for a child-friendly region”