University and occupation
“Education is one of the main problems in our country. If the bond between the university and the world of work is obscured, university students risk becoming irrelevant.” Giorgio Vittadini, President of the Foundation for Subsidiarity, thus introduced the conference titled “University and occupation” in Sala 3D at 11:15, reconnecting with the title of the 35th Meeting edition.
Maurizio Carvelli, CEO of CEUR Foundation, emphasized the necessity for each student to discover his or her own talent. Often, this word is misunderstood, but it simply specifies “the gravitational force which draws a man and a woman to occupy their own place in the world, because through their talent they can relate to reality in a unique way.” Evoking the parable of talents, Carvelli explained that everyone has to invest his or her own talent and make it productive; it has been given to us and we have to give it back in some way. “The evident difficulty in discovering our talents,” he said “can be overcome through the encounter with adults capable of inciting the student’s curiosity and attentiveness to circumstances of reality.” “Only in this way,” he concluded “can talent become an opportunity and not a burden.”
Andrea Cammelli, Director of AlmaLaurea, evoking the words of St. Clare, said that: “This is a period of crisis, but we can’t forget that even in a period of famine, the farmer cuts back on everything except sowing.” And sowing has to be done with care. Plutarch used to say: “Youth are not vases to fill up, but torches to light.”
This theme was amplified by Francisco Marmolejo, Tertiary Education Coordinator at the World Bank. “Education,” he said, “is an essential pillar of our society, because it guarantees not only economic but also social advantages. First of all, it forms individual consciences.” Keynes wrote: “There is nothing that a government hates more than being well-informed, because that makes the decision-making process more complicated.” Education, said the speaker, supports tolerance of other cultures, social mobility, and greater respect for environment.
Education is closely linked to the social-economy. In a globalized and competitive world, which has changed profoundly in the last fifty years, it is necessary to reform the university system. “If there is a new situation,” argued Marmolejo “we need to look at it from a different point of view.” This urgency is highlighted by the growing difference between the education of university students and the competences that the work environment requires. Instead, these two worlds must communicate and collaborate. Marmolejo thus proposed a new university model that entails greater involvement of students, through active learning (for example study abroad experiences or internships) and in the workplace. Youth have to be ready to change occupations, to work in teams and in multicultural environments, to learn at least another foreign language and, most of all, to sustain the desire for learning for the rest of their lives.