I spent two days in Switzerland, on Lake Geneva, re-living juvenile experiences and above all acquiring a deeper knowledge of one of the most prestigious hotel-management schools – the Cesar Ritz Institute, named after the Swiss-born historic protagonist of hospitality, whose name is still carried by the Paris hotel. It is incredible the air you breathe in an international school, the tensions and expectations you sense in the young. I do not intend to illustrate the Ritz Institute here: I will do so extensively in one of the next issues. What I wish to emphasise is the importance of adequate education to be able to face the challenges of this activity. The head of the school asked me where the future Italian managers of tourism are trained, and with some embarrassment I realised I had difficulty answering, and the more the conversation went on, the more I became aware of how limited curricula are in our country, often being adequate for the preparation of middle managers at the best. There is a great amount of confusion in education. University curricula are often overly focused on theoretical subjects, whereas several secondary-school programs are essentially based on a practical approach. In Italy, too, some improvements are being made in providing adequate curricula, but we are still very far from a satisfactory comprehensive response, and if we seek the best, we still have to look abroad.. Certain schools are still considerably costly, or better to say, they are still costly compared with the Italian tradition, where education has been viewed as a free-of-charge service. I remember when I was still very young, and in order to learn foreign languages I used to work at Patric Henry Village in Heidelberg, with the Seventh U.S. Army of occupation in Germany, and I looked with great curiosity at the children of higher officials, who sometimes did humble jobs to pay for their university studies. In the United States, education is an economic burden, but it is also the key to a successful career. I would like to hear of many young people investing in themselves and their education, and finally read Italian names, not only Swiss, American or German names, as managers of large international groups – and not as exceptions.
The need for adequate education
Di Antonio Caneva English translation Paola Pr, 25 maggio 2001