International Student Day: “Here is the school we would like”

Beware of mental healthguarantee of equal opportunitiesAnd passing the frontal lesson. Here are the main requests that emerge from a comparison with the students of Milan, who – on the occasion of the international student day – voice their demands for a more pupil-friendly school, and less bringing up the back of governments’ priority lists.

Mental health

From the words of students a open it clearly emerges how the pandemic years have brought to light the question of mental health, in schools as in public debate, but that still too little has been done to stem the problem. «We asked the University to activate a psychological support service adequate and active all year round» explains a open Ivan Zeduri student representative of UDU Milan. Several universities and high schools offer one, but often the waiting times are long, and the seats available are limited. Along the same lines also the instance moved in favor of smaller classes, where «a more human relationship with the professors», who «should be trained not only on the subject they teach, but also on how to manage the growth of young people».

The school without grades

Still dealing with mental health, a model that – according to those who introduced it – has made students gain serenity and enthusiasm is that of school without grades. The idea that has been experimented for seven years at Morgagni high school in Rome was born to a professor of mathematics and physics, Enzo Arte, following a visit to the Science museum. “The kids were excited about the outing but when I asked them to write a report, one student blurted out. She had been dreaming of that exit for months and that task would have sapped her enthusiasm“, has explained. «With that report, the kids would no longer have lived the experience with the eyes of curiosity». Concept also reaffirmed by Alexander DimiRegional Coordinator of the Lombardy Student Union: «Not having grades takes away the stress of conforming and brings the school back to its original dimension of emancipation and discovery».

Meritocracy or Equal Opportunity?

This pressure to conform is also perceived in the “merit” that has been added at the end of the name of the Ministry of Education. If it is true that some of the themes heard by the boys seem to be the same as the plan for school of the new education minister Joseph Vallettarathat “merit» still doesn’t convince them. In a note, it was the new Minister of Education himself Valditara to to clarify the meaning of the addition. Merit means “knowing how to identify, enhance and bring out the abilities of each person regardless of their starting conditions so that each young person can have an opportunity in their future”. A vision that the student associations oppose. «Students should not be considered independently of the starting conditions», says Dimi, «but precisely to help more those who are more disadvantaged, otherwise those who have the means will learn more and more, while those who don’t have them, less and less“, keep on.

How to pass the frontal lessons?

Finally, the third most touched topic was the overcoming of the frontal lesson as a teaching method. “Unless you’re a phenomenon, an hour of class listening to a professor who just talks gets boring for everyone» says Zeduri. We need a better use of spaces, laboratories, more hands-on activities and experiments, his colleagues echo. “Let’s ask a more participatory teaching where critical thinking is developed, not the mnemonic ability» continues Zeduri.

The school that students would like

The need to feel more represented and central to the school system declines in many specific requests. A less competitive environment, a free university, careers aka, greater attention to the right to study, more university accommodation, better internationalization, more funds for education and care of spaces, both in form and maintenance, and in the intended use. «The university canteens are too small and we don’t have spaces to eat», the students explain to open. The video in this article summarizes some of the most common requests.

The demonstration

Tomorrow – Friday 18 November – they will be held demonstrations throughout Italy. In the squares and streets of the country, each student association will bring its own claims. And it seems that the parades will not parade only for the school theme. In messages reported to open from the student collectives we read of a Friday renamed «No Meloni Day» where to be challenged will also be the decisions of the new government on the management of NGO ships loaded with migrants and the anti-rave decree.

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International Student Day: “Here is the school we would like” – The video