One hundred years ago Venero Girgenti was born, the Catania master ‘father’ of the school’s Technique. In love with writing, communication and theater, he was able to create from nothing, in the deep South, a newspaper dedicated entirely to the School. In fact, he is the architect of the School Technique, the newspaper that has just turned 72 and continues to remain a solid point of reference for those who work in school education today. To remember the figure of Venero Girgenti with Adnkronos is the daughter Daniela who with her sister collected the inheritance by continuing the business. “My father – he says – was a very tenacious and honest man, if we also want a ‘visionary’. Tenacious passionate about the world of school, he invented school information, capable of understanding the problems and needs of his colleagues, he represented their needs and made himself spokesperson for their needs. For the past 25 years my sister and I have taken up the baton by carrying on her adventure. We were leaders in the educational information sector and, even today, we represent an essential point of reference for the whole world of schools ” Born May 21, 1921 in Belpasso, in the province of Catania, Venero Girgenti comes from a large family, with ten brothers, modest and artisans; he began his publishing activity in the 1950s, after completing his schooling entirely as a self-taught person. He participates in the war, during which he is seriously injured, miraculously saved. At the end of the 1940s he was already a tenured elementary teacher, collaborating with various newspapers on the island, writing articles on literary criticism, folklore and Sicilian theater. In 1956 he graduated in pedagogy from the University of Catania. In 1962 he acquired and became director of La Tecnica della Scuola, an unknown educational publication, founded in 1949 by the school inspector Filippo Papa, to whom he has collaborated since the beginning. In 1969 Venero Girgenti, aware of the growing need, by the staff and professionals, to have useful information to operate in an exponentially growing but very complicated education system, transforms La Tecnica della Scuola into a fortnightly of school information and legislation, unique of its kind. The interest in the periodical takes off at a national level: the publication imposes itself, thanks to entirely new editorial choices for that period, carried out courageously and with personal risk, among other things having to deal with a territory that is certainly not favorable. to innovation. Within a few years, La Tecnica della Scuola became a point of reference for all Italian teachers: hundreds of thousands of copies are made every two weeks, with printing passing from sheetfed machines to fast rotary presses. The distribution of the fortnightly expands in all regions of Italy, from Valle d’Aosta to Veneto, Tuscany, passing through Lazio, Campania, up to the many provinces of Sicily itself. The work to create the magazine, which is also growing in number of pages, becomes increasingly demanding. As more and more frequent, Venero Girgenti’s trips are made from Catania to Rome, where he reaches the technicians of the Ministry of Education to discuss and update himself on the legislation. From year to year, the sacrifices of the teacher expert in school regulations pay off more and more efforts: together with the copies sold, the numbers of teachers and school staff who apply for substitutes also become high-sounding, they become tenured, they move home, more and more often thanks to the information acquired by the Sicilian periodical. Venero Girgenti never stops. Become a true scholar of the school subject: establish working relationships, including friendship, with supervisors, ministerial leaders, trade unionists. At the beginning of the seventies he invented the forms of the sector, creating reading cards useful for filling out the applications for temporary positions, mobility and the many types of formal questions that are periodically called upon to formulate permanent and precarious staff, forced against their will to living with a state bureaucracy that is increasingly difficult to deal with. In the Eighties, the Ministry of Education also came to benefit from Girgenti’s work, as it began to produce a series of cards and attachments to the various questions for the Provveditorati agli Studi, very similar to those created by the School’s Technique. The tenacity and firm will of the director from Catania make the publishing house progress: in September 1994 Scuolainsieme, a bimonthly magazine of culture and school information, was also born. Venero Girgenti, however, still wants to realize a dream, the greatest: to publish the school newspaper. He understands that with the advent of the internet it can be done. And start riding the vehicle. He does it with the curiosity of a child and the experience of a seasoned adult. Exactly as he had done by moving from hot to cold printing systems, from linotypes to offset plates. But having arrived one step away from the “finish line”, Venero Girgenti died on 8 August 1998. Thus he was unable to attend the birth of the online portal www.tecnicadellascuola.it, which made its debut on 1 September of the same year, among the few sites Italian internet and among the first in the school sector and which has, within its pages, the largest database on school regulations ever created in the history of the Republic. The project of an ordinary man from the South, who started from scratch in a context of general indifference, is coming to fruition. In 1999, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the School’s Technique, Venero Girgenti was awarded the gold medal in Merit of the School, Culture and Art by the Minister of Education, Luigi Berlinguer. To receive it there are his wife Maria Sardella, who has always helped him, and his daughters Daniela and Gabriella. The same ones that still today lead the editorial direction of the School’s Technique.
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