Lucia Azzolina: from Sicily to the Ministry

The former Minister and Member of Parliament is the author of the book “Learning Life. From Sicily to the Ministry the journey of a woman who owes everything to the school”. In an interview, he tells his way

Former Minister of Education Lucia Azzolina she is the author of the book Life teaches. From Sicily to the Ministry the journey of a woman who owes everything to the schoolBaldini + Castoldi, with a foreword by Liliana Segre. Recently presented in Messina, the biographical story of the 5th Chamberlain, born in Syracuse, focuses on the centrality of schooling as a form of social and cultural emancipation, starting with his personal story because “talking about my childhood means showing how school can be a social lift, ”he emphasizes.

Interview with former Minister Azzolina

Madam Azzolina, what is school for you?

“A way of life, first. At school you will learn how to live together, how to live in a community that is committed, inclusive, and respects the rules. If I may, with a pun with respect to the title of my book, I can tell you that school teaches you to live.

Why say yourself in a book?

The school is, under my mandate as Minister, back in the middle of the debate. And there it must remain. The book was created to tell the first year of the pandemic and to understand how one comes out with better schools than before. After years of wild cuts, the country needs to return on investment. Families know this, politics have not yet understood it. The autobiographical notes in the book are functional to this story.

What does Liliana Segre, who signs the foreword, represent to you?

“A great honor first. I met Liliana before I became Minister and I immediately love her. Any comment is superfluous in relation to the thickness of the person. What I can remember is that Liliana has dedicated her entire life to children, meeting thousands in schools to tell about her journey to hell. His words of humanity have raised a generation. “

“Breaking down social barriers”

What needs to happen in order for the school to become a real integration tool?

“It simply came to our notice then. A modest starting position did not prevent me from building a future. All thanks to the school. This is the meaning of the social elevator. There are territories here in the country where children only get a full meal when they go to school. Above all, politicians need to be aware of this. The recipe is one and only one: to invest. Until recently, on the contrary, the school was used as an ATM. “

In the last part you describe the changes that are necessary in the education for the future …

“The premise is this the resources of the NRP really open up the possibility of a major renewal. I am proud to have written the EU funded education project. So I summarize the main interventions that are being implemented: more nursery schools are needed; we need to be more digital in the classroom, even speaking the same language as the children; constant training of teachers selected on merit; Middle management, thus new professional figures, because teachers today have too many commitments and instead have to focus only on teaching; investing in vocational schools and ITS enables students to move closer to the world of work; strengthen the teaching of tribal subjects, ie the scientific disciplines; and then construction: more schools are needed, more welcoming and more secure. “

Living with the escort

She has the accompaniment: a woman in politics often suffers violent and sexist attacks. Must legal, social and cultural change take place together?

“In the book, I’m talking about one Poisoned country, because of the guilt of a political party that used the pandemic – and the school in particular – only to give consent, and also through a scandalous drift of some media. In this climate, a woman is even more complicated. I have experienced attacks from the beginning only for the color of my lipstick. Since that day, I have decided not to take it anymore. There is a bill that I have been working on to influence education in schools. But the laws alone are not enough, we need a cultural renewal that starts right from school. And then there is only one thing to do in the face of insult and aggression: report.

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