“I used to be a warehouse worker, now I’m hired at Oxford. The problem of brains fleeing from Italy? There is no reverse flow “

“One foot in one country, one foot in another, I find my condition very happy, as it is free”. So wrote the philosopher Descartes in 1648, explaining his condition as a traveler who did not fossilize in one place, but went in search of happiness between abroad and native village. The quote is from Andrea Bardin, fifty-two of Schio, in the province of Vicenza, Professor of History of Political Thought at the Brookes University from Oxford, in England. Passionate about philosophy and politics, he began teaching in high schools of Vicenza to land, in 2015, in British universities. “Before, I was a warehouse worker or worked in the community. Then I taught in high schools until I started a doctorate in 2007 in philosophy and history of political thought at the University of Padua: it was what I wanted because I like to study and know. Then came opportunities: a doctorate at Brunel University from London and, after a few years as a precarious one, therecruitment at Oxford”.

After the doctorate a Padova, at 40, Andrea found himself with many question marks and an age that he said was inadequate to enter universities. “In Italy I would not have found a job: after their studies, young people have to queue up, rely on a professor or a research institute and wait for years. I was already forty and I would not have been able to find a place: it is not what I call an ‘open system’ “. So, at the suggestion of a colleague, he went not far from London, where he found a professorship. “It wasn’t easy, I was precarious for a long time. Also in England there were some difficulties: I lost a competition and therefore, without a permanent job, I had to go back to Vicenza in a high school. But there are also merit-based criteria for being recognized and finding a place in universities. First of all, it is necessary to teach in a satisfactory way, then it is essential to publish articles for important English magazines related to your area: I specialized in the study of Simondon, a French philosopher of the twentieth century who offered an interesting approach to social relations “. Hence the decision to stay in the United Kingdom. “They welcomed me well. I have found colleagues who are willing (including some compatriots) and moreover, here you can breathe a multiculturalism that I like ”.

Born in 1969, Andrea is one of the many “brain drain”, a sign of contradiction of an Italy unable to hold back its talents. “But I see this problem differently from what is usually done – explains the teacher a ilfattoquotidiano.it – it’s not so much about kids who go abroad, as much as the fact that there is no reverse flow, there are not enough young people arriving in Italy. The turnover that would allow learning and growing at an academic level is missing. We cannot think of a local market for brains, we need to think from a European perspective ”.

England has opened up other horizons for him. “My European colleagues would never go to work in a country like Italy where there are difficulties and gender differences, in terms of salary and treatment. In addition, in the United Kingdom no one pays attention to the color of the skin, unfortunately it cannot be said to be the same in Italy “. And the salary? “I earn a third more than my Italian colleagues, the salary is adjusted on the basis of inflation and then there is the increase in seniority. Furthermore, the union is very strong and with Brexit the number of jobs increased, so if a teacher is fired, he will more easily find a job elsewhere “. The problem of Italy in education? “It does not invest in research and retreats in the school system. It produces a lot of intellectual work, but it does not have the structures (and contribution levels) to exploit it ”.

Seen from across the Channel, however, our country also has some light: “In some respects some things are better in Italy: the role of the teacher, both at school and at university, is perceived a little better and the public school, despite being in decline, it is still a strong sector, here they dream of a public and free system. The value of Italy is that of knowing how to produce intelligence, but these must then participate in circulation, they must not be kept “. In this continuous journey, Andrea has now found his balance, just like Descartes. “I would not be able to fossilize in a country, having a single home would be an obsession; I feel at home both when I land in England and when I see the mountains and relatives in Veneto again. In Vicenza I can hug my family again (the father former goalkeeper of Lanerossi Vicenza in Serie A, the attacking daughter in the women’s top league, ed) and, as a good provincial, have a drink with friends “.

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