ROME — To promote a more inclusive form of education, Pope Francis will hold a Google Hangout with five handicapped children from various parts of the world on Thursday to launch an international project of cooperation through technology.
The videoconference will take place as the pope closes an international symposium held on Vatican grounds and organized by Scholas Ocurrentes, the pontiff’s pet project to promote education.
Scholas Ocurrentes (Schools Meeting) is a worldwide network of schools organized by two Argentinian school headmasters, Enrique Palmeyro and José María del Corral.
Del Corral told Crux that the pontiff asked the two educators to offer students a “bailout” through learning.
“He’s convinced that the world is in crisis, and that the solution will come through education,” del Corral said.
The network’s main goal is to connect students, teachers, and parents for projects and programs, using popular sports and culture to promote dialogue, in order to improve the quality of their education and, at the same time, to reinforce peace and understanding.
In partnership with Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Globant, a technology development company, Scholas is trying to use high-tech media platforms to pursue the pope’s press for dialogue and peace.
Del Corral said that Pope Francis in convinced that if society continues doing the same things, it will perpetuate the same failures.
“That’s why we believe in a different education,” del Corral said. The vision is a classroom in which both rich and poor students will have access to the same resources and technology, he said.
This will be the second time the pope takes part in a hangout to promote education.
The first was last September, when Francis spoke with high school students from five continents to launch “Scholas.Social”, a website dedicated to crowdfunding for educational projects that promotes interaction among schools with different social challenges.
On Thursday, Francis will launch Scholas.Labs, a platform that will try to generate innovative solutions to concrete educational problems.
A third platform, Scholas.Education, defined as “a virtual classroom for a universal, open, and inclusive education” will soon be launched to promote a borderless interaction between teachers and students.
Back in September, during the first-ever simultaneous conversation between a head of state and teenagers from five continents, Francis said that youth hold the future in their hearts, minds, and hands.
“If you have wings and roots, you own the future,” he said. “You need the wings to fly, dream, and believe. But you need roots to receive the wisdom from the elderly.”