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The Risk of Education has been educating in Kampala

Thanks to an AVSI project in Kampala, Uganda, every year since 2002, a course of formation called “The Risk of Education Training” has been organized.
Anna Leonardi

Thanks to an AVSI project in Kampala, Uganda, every year since 2002, a course of formation called “The Risk of Education Training” has been organized. It is a course for teachers, head teachers, educators, social workers, parents, prison guards and nurses, and has, over the years, seen the participation of 847 people.

The organizers told us, “Our aim is not to rewrite Fr. Giussani’s book, or to use his teaching as an inspiration to propose something else created by us. We want simply to offer the chance to meet him, communicating what his experience has produced in us.”

The course is divided into six sessions. The method used in each session is to look at how the theme in hand is commonly understood, by means of a test for the participants. Then the objectives and the contents of the course are presented, inviting the participants to verify what is proposed and to judge it personally. Last, the theme is documented and deepened using a multimedia presentation.

Session 1“Education to totality.”
The first seminar aims at communicating the true nature of the educative task, that is to say, introduction to the full meaning of reality. Normally, instead, education is conceived of as the acquisition of cultural, ethical and behavioral models, and often this is associated with the term “to inculcate.” The introduction of the concept of “heart” is something revolutionary in the field of education and forms the basis for a new educative trajectory.
Session 2 “Tradition and the present.”
The contents proposed in this seminar are situated in the ongoing thorny debate over African culture and tradition. While on one hand there is a move toward the values of tradition, in opposition to the economic and cultural colonization by the West, in view of the building of an African identity, on the other hand, the tradition is considered as a primitive and backward system, to be rejected. The seminar aims at developing the awareness of the importance of tradition, as a point of departure in the approach to reality, and provides a hypothesis for its explanation. At the end of the session, the participants are invited to listen to Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, an expression of the dramatic relationship between the “I” in its uniqueness and tradition as a factor of real development.

Session 3“Authority, an existential proposal.”
Here, the focus is on the role of the educator, which, far from being a mere exercise of power, becomes the locus of a proposal and the opportunity to live it. In order to deepen the understanding of this, we propose the film Il Postino, directed by Massimo Troisi, which illustrates all the wealth of an authoritative relationship.

Session 4 “Personal Verification and Criticism.”
Here, attention is on the “group” question. In African tradition, the individual is always conceived of as depending on the community. The course aims at giving the proper value to the person, in this case to the student, provoking him to a continuous comparison between the new things he learns and his own heart and tradition. A series of slides of Van Gogh’s masterpieces shows how his genius developed through his encounter and fidelity to another artist, Millet, acknowledged as his teacher. This demonstrates how the teacher-student relationship is never a passive imitation, but gives origin to a new, personal interpretation.
Session 5 “The Risk of Education.”
This session is dedicated to the concept of freedom, which in the common mentality is very rarely associated with the idea of a full realization, and in the field of education is even seen as something dangerous. The novelty introduced in the course consists of conceiving of the educative process as something that develops the student’s autonomy and makes him able to act according to his true nature.

Session 6 “Follow-up.”
A overall vision of the course in its various sessions is proposed and, by means of the contribution of the participants, its practicability in the various educational ambits is verified.