Today I met with a manager of a high school in the Bay Area to talk about mentorship opportunities for their pupils. The school has a biotech program for students 10th to 12th grade (about 15th to 18th y/o), and one of their initiative is to find volunteers (professionals in biotech) who can be assigned to each of their 50 students for a 1:1 Mentor-Mentee relationship. The project would last 6 months.

Beside its incredible merit, I was struck by the language used by the manager to describe the teaching strategy of the school: practical laboratory as main tool to learn, with books to “supplement to knowledge”; work on elevator-pitches and self-presentation; create tangible and measurable outcomes for life progress. The best one: how to train people to be ready for the work space.

All of these concepts are poisons to the ordinary Italian high-school system. In my view, educating pupils to be “ready for work” is actively discouraged in Italy, with the excuse that practical skills would hamper student’s training in becoming what really matters most: model citizens; well-read individuals; study people. As if the second would prevent the first.

Today I appreciated the full power of an education system geared towards sustaining its own economy, and its own country. It will be a pleasure to support the initiative of this school. I would like to see this done in Italy as well.

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