GIOVENTU » Italian Students suffer from summer holidays

Italian Students suffer from summer holidays

According to a research of the University “La sapienza” di Roma, too long Summer vacations are detrimental for learning.

Italian students have the longest vacation in Europe and apparently this leads to a drop in learning, especially if the family environment is impoverished and parents can’t help with homework.

In the USA the phenomena is called "Summer learning loss" and it has been studied for many years. It has been demonstrated that excessively long summer holidays contribute to worsen the learning abilities of children, especially when the family context can’t culturally support children.

The study has finally arrived in Italy, thanks to a research doctorate at the University La Sapienza of Rome, which aims to analyze the situation in Italy, where the summer holidays are the longest in Europe.

Italian students usually complain for their excessive summer homework without knowing that in the rest of Europe their peers have shorter holidays. In England, for example, the school year begins on September the 1st  and ends on August the 31st, with a break in July and August of about six weeks. Very little, in comparison to the nearly three months of the Italians. 

According to numerous American studies such a long absence from school would result in a substantial loss of learning that can be verified at their return at school: the summer holidays turn into a killer of knowledge, especially for those students who live in particularly disadvantaged family contexts. There is a huge gap in the learning loss, depending on their family background. Better off families can have extra help and cultural stimulation during the summer, while others can’t.

The data coming from the USA has started off the research doctorate in Experimental Pedagogy at the University La Sapienza of Rome, which aims to analyze, for the first time in Italy, the phenomenon of "summer learning loss", to find out if it affects Italian students.

The research is also significant as it is part of the broader issue of school equity. If you’ve always wondered how good summer homework was for students, you might eventually be answered, as this dilemma is an important one the study aims to solve.

For now we can just say to Italian students: ”enjoy your long summer, it might not last like this forever”.   

Giulia Lombardo

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