Venetian educators intervene against school dropouts

A model of cooperation, a set of concrete actions already tested, and a strategy for the future: this is the territorial plan to combat educational poverty and school dropout, which was presented yesterday afternoon at Forte Marghera. The plan, edited by the Venice Education Society, was born from Futuro Prossimo, a project selected by the social enterprise Con in Bambini, as part of the Foundation for Combating Youth Education Poverty, led by Save the Children, the organization that provides over a hundred years of struggle to rescue endangered children.

The territorial context

The data collected by the City of Venice in the school year 2020/2021 shows the increase in reports of cases of possible school dropouts from schools at all levels. The phenomenon seems to be growing especially in primary school, while difficulties are highlighted in the reorganization of study paths for children aged 14-16 years. According to the 2021 Childhood Atlas, edited by Save the Children, the number of children and young people who have never been to the theater in the Veneto region is between 71.1% and 74.4%, while those who have never visited a museum are between 42 , 1% and 45.1%. Sedentary boys and girls, or those who do not play any sport, vary according to the range between 10% and 13%, well below the national average of 22.2%.

The Futuro Prossimo project has been working in the Marghera-Venice area since 2018 to strengthen the educational community, a network of institutions, schools, families and third sector entities committed to promoting the well-being and participation of boys and girls.

“Thanks to Futuro Prossimo, we have known a lot of new things together, we have experienced new adventures in our area, we have grown and related to others, being in a group. We had a lot of fun. With this project, we have become more aware of our territory and we know for the future that we can participate in activities that we did not know before, ‘comment the boys and girls of Futuro Prossimo Venezia.

The education community – through the territorial tables, moments of discussion and reflection on the area’s urgency and needs – has worked to identify the territory’s actual needs, the priority areas for combating educational poverty and school dropout, a list of resources and actors that can potentially be activated, by a co-operation model and last but not least the actual implementation of concrete proposals.

“Knowledge, resources and willpower are the three keywords that have guided the work of the educated community of Venice in recent years. We have always been aware of the importance of knowing the nuances and specifics of the problems we face, because only in this way can we network the right resources and produce real change – said Marianna Fresu, National Coordinator for Futuro Prossimo. – The fight against educational poverty and school dropout requires time and energy in the short, medium and long term. And in order not to stop and go beyond the individual project, it is essential to identify a sustainable method of collaboration, but above all positive and constructive, which does not complicate and / or add effort, but to optimize and facilitate. The territorial tables were, and we hope will continue to be, precisely the breeding ground where small changes can be made, and which the pedagogical community over time assumes responsibility for cultivating ».

“The territorial plan for combating educational poverty and school dropout is the result of the constant commitment of the realities involved in this orientation, training and planning path – added Simone Venturini, Councilor for Social Cohesion in Venice – thanks to the High Pedagogical Network intensity, which has strengthened the synergy between the municipal administration, the third sector and associations in the area, we have increased the supply of social pedagogical activities for children and young people, create opportunities for growth and interaction, with the common goal of regenerating the territory based on minors’ needs “.

Venice’s territorial plan analyzes the interventions carried out from 2018 to today and the action strategy to be pursued by 2024.

By working on three priority focus areas – participation and training, space / places / environment, inclusion and community – specific actions were planned and implemented, which led to concrete and tangible results. High Intensity Educational Network was born, formed to date of over 130 territorial realities (institutions, schools, associations); 12 moments of formation and updating were promoted for the adults in the educational community; 42 city workshops were proposed for the age group 0/18 and adults involving about 500 participants; thanks to the active participation of the children, 3 murals, 1 relaxation room, 1 school radio, 2 language laboratories have been set up; 35 individualized paths (Community Educational Qualities) were activated by connecting different actors (families, associations, suppliers, schools), and 1 group of “mentor” parents was created for scholastic orientation of families of foreign origin. Furthermore, all actors involved worked to renew the free tuition offer both inside and outside the school.

Specifically, some of the planned initiatives are: insert the high-intensity education network in the three-year plan for the Veneto region 2023/2026, create new service tasks for the network actors using common funds and ad hoc funding, promote the inclusion of at least five new schools of all types and levels in the network, conduct thematic surveys for teachers and educators at least twice a year in the area, guarantee integrated care of at least 20 minors, support school recycling and extra-space schools through co-planning of at least three interventions with the children.

“The High Intensity Educational Network is an open and dynamic expression of the territory. The members who join have all signed the pact for the Education Society of Venice, where goals and values ​​are explained – concluded Julia di Campo, local coordinator of Futuro Prossimo Venezia -. Within the first edition of the Festival della Rete, we wanted to express the common commitments made so far and to future commitments to give us the opportunity to change based on the rights of children and young people to never leave anyone behind by perform concrete actions for the contrast between educational poverty and school dropout “.

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