GIOVENTU » Italian School system reforms

Italian School system reforms

The Italian school system is totally different from the British one. After junior high school, at the age of 14, students are asked to choose amongst “Licei” (classico, scientifico and linguistico) and technical schools.

The Italian government has recently published online a school reform proposal in order to share it with the citizens, and encourage what has been defined the wider public consultation ever made in Italy. The school reform has, as always, raised a lively debate especially online.

The main areas of change will regard teachers’ recruitment, teaching qualification and the length of service bonuses. First of all, to comply with European regulations, the government will have to hire about 150 thousand temporary employed teachers. The new hiring plan foresees the employment of about 13 thousand new teachers every year.

For what concerns teacher’s qualification a new two year master degree specific for teaching, will be introduced. To access to the program it will be necessary to win a public contest. At the completion of the academic curriculum, teachers will have a six months apprenticeship after which they will be ready to be employed by the government.  

There will be a significant change in the way wage bonuses are granted according to seniority of service. Teachers will be evaluated by the headmaster and payment bonuses won’t be granted on the basis of the years of service, but only the best teachers will be granted a pay raise.

For what concerns the students’ curricula also the effectiveness of the “classico”, always considered the best education, has been questioned. In the “classico” high school, pupils study ancient Greek and Latin for many hours a week. This type of education, still considered by many the best available in Italy, as it provides strong analytical and problem solving skills through the translation of complex grammatical structures, has been severely criticized, as it doesn’t provide an immediately useful knowledge, and it lacks of scientific skills which prove to be more in compliance with the job market.

In Turin a fake process to the “classico” has been organized at the theatre “Carignano” by “Fondazione per la Scuola della Compagnia di San Paolo”, the ministry of instruction and the publishing house “Il mulino”. The economist  Andrea Ichino represented the prosecutor while the semiologist and writer Umberto Eco was the defence attorney. At the end the “liceo classico” was fully acquitted.

The main arguments of the debate were that “Classico” dosen’t provide a knowledge immediately useful in the contemporary world dominated by technology. Moreover if the “liceo classico” provides the best education ever, why was it abolished in other countries, such as France and Germany? Among the alternatives proposed, is that of the chance of choosing subjects instead of a predefined curriculum, as it is in other European countries.

Giulia Lombardo

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