A new problem emerged recently on the surface of the Italian social debate; regarding the outcome resulting of the various ministerial decrees elaborated, and urgently pushed into the parliament to become obliging laws, by Maria Stella Gelmini the ex Minister of Education and Scientific Research for the three consecutive cabinets of the much discussed Italian business and media magnate Silvio Berlusconi.
One in particular is making a big fuss, rendering the discussions more offensive than just sour; and which is related to a decision Gelmini took as “…an imperative Austerity measure to allow the educative process maintain its course through the duress of such a crushing globalised crisis”; by the exclusion of “History Of Art” from all public and private schools programmes, thus depriving future Italian citizens from the values of similar formation.
The problem, as per the critics, rises from the general belief that it wasn’t a fruit of an oversight, but rather it was a conscious choice, generated from the official despise for Human Studies and Social Sciences in general characterizing those times (the two decades of Berlusconi rule over politics and media), added to a completely distorted vision on how important the role of the country’s historic artistic heritage is.
The critics have also noted how an obviously wrong decision as such, though would have probably saved few millions of Euro for teaching the matter, it will need hundreds or thousands of millions in the near future to fix the damage generated out of the intentional production of a wide spread ignorance.
Tommaso Montanari, the most daring critic says:
“Why should an Italian feel happy to sustain, other than his sweat smelling taxes, a cultural heritage that seem as distant, inaccessible and superfluous as a luxury that only the rich can enjoy? It’s a crucial demand, and if really there is a sincere will to change the present status, it is here the starting point. Because to most of today’s Italians, this heritage is like an immense library fully stamped in an alphabet which by now is completely unknown. And one cannot love, and consequently save, what he doesn’t understand.. What he doesn’t properly feel.. Not to mention our ruling class, the most featured analphabetic group in the entire Western Hemisphere”.
Now, should I wish to draw a parallel to this issue; I’d start by denouncing the deteriorated status of our education system in Egypt, ever since the sixties of last century.. Ever since our Ruling Class adopted certain political choices turning them into traditions enforced by laws (that were never changed or even modified); after which both our sense of belonging and our definition of patriotism became unfocussed and slowly faded away and finally disintegrated.
a) Cancelling the independence of Al Azhar, rendering it another ‘Public Sector’ institution disabling it from performing its historic role as the locomotive of the International Moderate Sunny World and obliging it to abandon its duty for “Ejtehad”;
b) Disempowering the Classic Arabic Literature teachers, choosing them from the universities and high schools under-graduates or even outcasts, especially for the elementary stages of schooling in a way to turn it into a non appealing study and non enthusiastic channel for a secure career;
c) Disregarding the new techniques for teaching Human Studies;
d) Cancelling art, agriculture, music, laboratories, libraries, philosophy, sport and drawing classes from our overcrowded public schools making such subjects the privilege of the few, thus creating more social and cultural distinctions;
e) Educating, by imposition, in all levels the one-say/one-opinion of the single political party that is the State itself;
f) Generalising a false Free Education Policies, even in University; and
g) Neglecting the role of Scientific Research and denying its important impact on the strategic progress of a nation.
Every time I read a letter or a message written in Arabic, and listen to a political speech delivered in our generously rich Classic Arabic Language, I become more convinced of my observations.. If we can’t speak rightfully our language, know precisely its rich heritage of literature in prose and poetry; understand it and communicate through it in the right way; then it will die and turn into an élite ciphered code same as Latin and Coptic that shall have one use only, and that is to celebrate Religious Rituals and Sermons; or worse to be exchanged in secret reunions of secret societies!
Obviously we’ll be completely dependant on the ‘Experts’ to explain the things being we were unable ourselves to understand.. And that is the definition of turning into small groups vulnerable and submitted to continuous political, cultural, social and emotional manipulations.
That is how and why we are so divided and so confused; and it shows clearly in the process of choosing our rulers.. Because we just can’t understand their language, their symbols, their tactics and their maneuvers.. Because we didn’t care much, or were too lazy, to explore the priceless treasures of our classical cultural heritage.
So if we don’t really know how to decide on whose to be our representative in Parliament or fit to be our President; will it be possible to hope that the non-represented would concord with the never-represented and kneel down together to a principle of representation that represents others, not them?Pass On The Word.