School on Active Citizenship for Unaccompanied Minors

De Marchi, Lucia (2014). 'School on Active Citizenship for Unaccompanied Minors' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, 2-5 September 2014, Athens, Greece.

The reality of unaccompanied minors in clearly present throughout the Italian territory. The national statistics show that 80% of the provincial capitals have welcomed these minors from 2009 to 2010. According to Italian law, when unaccompanied minors  become on age, they should go away from the reception center. They should find a job and a residence to be able to stay in Italy with a regular permit. Moreover, a lot of minors should drop the school because they should work. In analyzing the conditions of children worldwide, UNICEF Report 2012 describes what are the hardships that migrant children face when they arrive in urban areas. We can read in the third chapter: 'According to a recent analysis of census data and family members from 12 countries, one child every five migrants between 12 and 14 years old, and half of those aged 15 to 17, they moved without parents. Often children and young people follow established patterns of migration. In West Africa and South Asia , where the number of independent child migration are particularly high, the majority of migrant children leave home between 13 and 17 years. [...] It is estimated that in India alone, at least four million children migrate seasonally, either alone or with their families'. The case studies collected with my research confirm what UNICEF Report reiterates about the causes that lead these children to migrate: 'Migration is an attempt to secure a better life, in terms of educational or economic opportunities, or simply to escape from the poverty. Others move because of family circumstances [... ], or as a result of conflicts or natural disasters and food shortages'.My Ph.D research would answer to this question: the educational training allow the unaccompanied  minors over job placement, also to become active citizens in the global ecumene? In the various Italian realities that I analyzed (Venice, Florence, Trento, Bari and Catania), only in one case there are some 'apartments of transition' in which the boys do experience of living alone, after the period in the reception centers. In all other cases, the transition to the age of majority is seen as an effective accompanying the new age boy to the door of the centre. The actions that operators can implement, as soon as they accept a minor, are to build a minimum of social network. Become important personal contacts that the operators in the reception centers have with organizations, institutions and volunteers. Otherwise a new age should live in the street or underground, above all where there are some problems  with the legal permit for age. So the hypothesis of the research was: 'reformulating educational projects for unaccompanied minors, from capabilities of each boy and with an empowerment of these, you will be able to train future citizens of multicultural democracies'. With a recursive process theory-practice-theory in the course of these three years of research, I have identified progressively the theoretical framework of the analyzed issue. First of all, I looked for statistical data of these complex reality on the web and I read local, national and international reports about the legal and social point of view. Secondly, I defined the theoretical framework starting from the Theory of Complexity of Edgar Morin and entering within the Capability Approach Theory, in addition to studies of demography, anthropology and educational sciences.  According to my data analysis,  it is important to empower a network between different  actors for create more opportunities in order to act the capabilities both of the minors, both of the social actors. 'Education might contribute to overcoming inequalities, and facilitating participation in processes that redress  injustice. Sen (1992) has identified three distinct ways in which we can link the importance of education to the expansion of valuable capabilities: first, education fulfils an instrumental social role'. Secondly, 'education also has an instrumental process role in facilitating our capacity to participate in decision-making processes'. Finally, 'it has an empowering and distributive role in facilitating the ability of disadvantages, marginalized and ezcluded groups' (Deneulin, Shahani, 2009).  So I have formulated an educational proposal in different steps: firstly, the creation of a Multistakeholder Barging Table based on Kolb Cycle. In the second step, schools, social cooperatives and the labor market together with  university and civil society, formulate  a new training on active citizenship. After with an active experimentation, they apply this new educational project. The core of the new school on active citizenship is composed by three components: literacy, laboratories and a special training on democracy. The main outcomes of this school are: improvement of the autonomy and responsibility of minors; to allow to take a qualification to young people; stage and vocational training in commercial activities with mixed management; dissemination and sustainability of the creation multicultural democracies. This school has been designed combining the technical skills with the humanities, as indicated by Martha C. Nussbaum for the education of the citizen. Training should improve, with the different activities, not only the scientific skills, but also historical and humanistic ones. In such a way as  these minors acquire complex skills, so they will be able to be efficient producers and above all to be citizens who can act their part as protagonists and to be men and women who are able to build their own life projects, as indicated by the Theory of Human Development. At the same time,  the  Barging Table could improve the condition on the society to endorse  a new welfare based on the Capability Approach. After  the qualification, young people have more opportunities to spend their capabilities and they could contribute to support the creation of multicultural democracies together with the other social stakeholders.

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