Open Cafè: Right to study Vs Right to be healthy

Open Cafe Magenta 03.09.2020
By: Tiziano Tomassini

The topic selected for this Open Cafè is very crucial in these days because of the upcoming start of the schools, from elementary schools to universities after a lockdown of about 6 months. In the public opinion this step of starting back to go to school is very controversial; On the one hand we have to guarantee the right to study as part of an educational process that is crucial for the life of young people, but on the other hand the fear of an explosion of infections is very high and therefore there is a lively discussion on how to behave. and what rules to follow.

After some funny icebreaker games we have tried to discuss these questions through a non-formal activity. We used the famous “take a step forward” tool. Each person played a secret role (for example, the son of a denier restaurateur, or the daughter of an immigrant who arrived in Italy a few months ago). The facilitator read statements (for example, I can be treated in a paid private clinic, or, I can take lessons online). If the answer to these statements was positive then the boy, playing his role, would have taken a step forward; if the answer was no then he would remain in his position. After about 10 statements and related responses, we had a glimpse of the society we are living in, made up of inequality with respect to access to services that should be guaranteed, such as the right to education.

This activity was the forerunner for the central discussion of our Open Cafe; a series of issues related to the current security of our school system with respect to the pandemic in progress, the problem of public transport for children, often overcrowded and the situation of access to IT tools to
carry out remote lessons. The debates were well attended and saw the presence of both high school and university students and teachers currently involved in the logistics phase to ensure safe return to school.

About 15 young people attended the event, the first after the summer holiday break and still with anti covid-19 procedure. The event took place in the wonderful scenario of Villa Naj Oleari park at 21.00 in the evening. This Open Cafe was very interesting and gave us many ideas to reflect on and to understand how difficult it is to mediate between two rights so obvious but at the same time in opposition in this difficult moment for human civilization: the right to education against right to public health.

We look forward to seeing you next Thursday for another really special Open Café, Don’t miss!!