Today, Tomorrow, To Nino
In partnership with: FOCUS – La casa dei diritti sociali
Our mission is to empower young people who leave education and training prematurely by giving them opportunities to gain the skills and qualifications they need to grasp their future with both hands.
The average number of school-age pupils dropping out of education in some parts of Italy has risen above the EU average to 17%. This is a serious and urgent problem with consequences for individuals and society as a whole. Difficulty finding a job or apprenticeship with no qualifications or training can push young people into poverty and social exclusion. For the wider community, education failure is an obstacle to economic growth and employment, and root cause of many social problems.
Trigger factors are to be found both inside the school system and in the problems children bring to the door. Big cities like Rome not only have more younger people in general, they also have higher than average proportions of socially and economically disadvantaged families living in deprived suburbs. Increasingly, many of these are migrants fleeing poverty, famine and war, unaccompanied foreign minors hosted in reception centres or Roma children living in makeshift camps. With limited prior schooling, the children are often unable to read and write, and with limited family resources to sustain their education or little cultural appreciation of its value, they are more prone to dropping out of school.
With the support of the Costa Crociere Foundation, we can give these children access to opportunities that wider society often takes for granted.
Reducing early school leaving is a headline target in the Europe 2020 strategy, and in keeping with this goal, the Today, Tomorrow, To Nino programme will champion the universal right of all young children to gain access to education and a better future.
Over its three-year duration, the programme aims to keep 300 vulnerable young people in education in spite of their high risk of early school leaving. It will guide them on their learning journey into employment.
We aim to push the issue onto the public agenda through a series of launch events, fund-raising campaigns and information-sharing activities, both online and in the community.
Today, Tomorrow, To Nino was set up for ambitious children from disrupted backgrounds who want to get ahead. Without the right support to overcome socio-economic obstacles, many give up on their dreams and drop out of school. To stop this from happening, a balanced series of measures reflecting the prevention, intervention and compensation principles will be put into place.
Beneficiaries will be selected from vulnerable groups in the community in a three-step selection process and put at the centre of education in welcoming, safe and friendly environments with a student-focused approach. To encourage them to start, continue or re-engage with education and training, guidance will be provided in-class and in outreach situations, both during and after school. Individualised and flexible learning pathways to be reviewed every three months will empower young learners with a sense of ownership and self-fulfilment, as they gain the skills needed to play a positive role in society. Family empowerment exercises will also be used to encourage parents to support their children’s education and recognize signs of difficulty or disengagement. Extra resources to support learning in situations of hardship will be delivered through 30 scholarships to assist with education-related expenses.
The lack of connection with the school and community that often underpins early school leaving will be countered through the provision of out-of-school opportunities. Extra-curricular activities like guided tours or an intercultural chess tournament will create opportunities to socialize with peers, foster a sense of identity and make previously marginalised students feel a valued part of the community. Being able to join a three-year programme will also help students make a smoother transition between different levels of education and reap the benefits of the study and career guidance offered.
To help raise awareness about such a complex issue with far-reaching consequences for society, and attract additional resources and expertise, a series of public events will be staged through the year.