The Aldini Valeriani High School approach

The Aldini Valeriani High school approach to advanced manufacturing

Human capital remains one of the industrial assets with major potential impact on the competitiveness of the European industry of the future. For this reason education, training and preparation to the world of work have an essential and strategic role of primary relevance in the modern economy. 

The Aldini-Valeriani high school based in Bologna is one of the oldest technical schools both at Italian and European level. For over 160 years it has represented the Bologna pole of excellence and avant-garde in the training of entrepreneurs, professionals, managers, technicians and highly-qualified workers, most of which founded small and large companies.

The extraordinary story of its foundation and evolution is a noble chapter in the technical and professional training history. At the end of the XVIIIth century the technical schools founded in the big European industrial capitals were conceived to provide an answer to the increasing demand for technicians and specialized labor. The Aldini- Valeriani Technical School of Bologna, on the contrary, stem just from the foresight of a couple of eminent figures of the University of Bologna. Actually at time when the two founders- the physician  Giovanni Aldini  (1762 - 1834) and the economist Luigi Valeriani (1758-1828)-  laid the bases for the creation of  the school, through donations and testamentary depositions to the Bologna Municipality,  there was no industry in Bologna. The population were in a state of misery, generated by the economic crisis connected with the decline of the production and processing of the silk, that in the previous four centuries formed the fame and the wealth of the city.

The establishment of the school revamped on new bases the productive development of the territory. The European intellectuals Aldini and Valeriani were conscious of the links connecting science, technique and economic growth. In this way arose the project of the school,  formulated by a Commission made of university professors and municipal counselors and inspired by the Paris experience of the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers, considered a model for the technical education of craftsmen and manufacturers.

This was the origin of the technical high schools of Bologna, conceived to be public and free of charge. Their programs differ widely from the traditional education systems. The talent creation is based both on practical and theoretical aspects, merging knowledge and skills. The basics of arithmetic, geometry, design, chemistry and physics are combined with laboratory practice, machines use and construction, applied chemistry. In so doing the empirical experience opens the mind that designs in a cooperative relationship, still recognized as one of the best methods for developing competences.

At the end of the XIXth century the  Aldini-Valeriani  school  was sat alongside by the Female School of Arts and Crafts founded by the Workers Society of Bologna . In 1947 this female school was assigned the name  Elisabetta Sirani, in memory of the eminent Bologna painter that in the XVth century  practiced her art in the city. Later on they launched also two night schools for workers.

Since 1884, the Aldini Valeriani Sirani High School has made many transformations and enhanced its education and training offer with new technical and professional specializations, ranging from manufacturing to service sectors. Nevertheless the original mission is still more modern  than ever: to establish and maintain  strict and dialectical links between education, technological discovery, work environment and industry al local national and international level.