Reimagining Education: A Fair Dedicated to Innovation and Creativity
Experts of education, technology and business met at John Cabot University to discuss the future of new generations on June 14, 2019. Following the round table discussion, John Cabot hosted a fair dedicated to innovation and creativity in the field of education, with 30 leading specialists from the sector.
Around a hundred people, including professors, principals and parents took part in “Reimagining Education”, sponsored by John Cabot University’s Institute for Entrepreneurship in collaboration with the ‘Osservatorio Cultura e Lavoro’ and Teach for Italy. Organized as part of the Entrepreneurial Journey, a project dedicated to young people launched this year by JCU, “Reimagining Education” provides an overview of self-entrepreneurship in all its spheres, with the support of universities and investors.
The discussion was moderated by Loredana Oliva, a long-time journalist and head of the Roman branch of CoderDojo, a global network of free, volunteer-led, community-based programming clubs for young people aged between 7 to 17.
Antonella Salvatore, founder of ‘Osservatorio Cultura e Lavoro,’ identified an underlying cultural problem behind education: often people’s attitude towards college is “for now think about getting a degree, then we’ll see.” Unfortunately, when the “then” arrives, it is already too late, and we find ourselves with generations of young people (and even not so young, compared to their European colleagues) who are poorly prepared for the job market, with little experience and undeveloped soft skills. Luigi Campitelli, director of ‘Lazio Innova SpA,’ the agency for development and investments of the Lazio region, highlighted another phenomenon, which he defined “citizenship deficit”, a collective behavior characterized by the absence of the sense of belonging to a community.
“To change, we need to start from the children” said Maria di Saverio and Mario Cusmai, researchers of the ‘Istituto Nazionale per l’Analisi delle Politiche Pubbliche,’ an organization that focuses on learning tools in “formal, non-formal and informal contexts.” Education is in need of a paradigm shift, which will require children to learn and practice emotional intelligence from a very young age. Enrica Cornaglia, Venture Representative and Program Manager of Ashoka Italia, said that change is possible, and shared her experience with Ashoka’s Changemaker Schools, where students learn skills such as entrepreneurship, shared leadership and creativity. Her talk ended with a clear exhortation: to break the mold of traditional education of the early 1900s, and to turn everyone into social change makers.
Cecilia Stajano of ‘Fondazione Mondo Digitale’ then took the floor and observed that around children gravitates, in addition to teachers, parents, relatives and friends, an inestimable human capital. Schools need to be better connected with families, communities and the job market to create a functioning system. Also for Andrea Pastorelli, CEO of Teach for Italy (Italian branch of the international organization Teach for All), the school is the starting point for change. The Teach for All model aims to change the system from within, selecting and training the best talents and then placing them as educators in the most disadvantaged schools.
Marta Bertolai, of Enactus Italy, explained how the Enactus model involves young people and starts from sustainable social innovation projects. The participants, in addition to developing leadership and entrepreneurial skills, become active citizens, making an immediate and concrete contribution to society. After the presentations, the participants visited the stands of the fair, learning about new initiatives and networking.
“These testimonies gave a strong signal of hope for a better future with many organizations already working towards achieving this goal. The next step will be to believe in it, to invest, and to systemically create a functioning ecosystem” said Professor Silvia Pulino, Director of the JCU Institute for Entrepreneurship.