Italy Education

The 1948 Constitution established some fundamental principles in the field of education, instruction and vocational training, which have influenced, at least in part, the subsequent developments of the Italian school system. Having affirmed the right and duty of parents to “maintain, educate and educate their children, even if born out of wedlock” (Article 30), the Constitution assigns to the state the task of dictating general rules on education and establishing schools for all orders and grades. Bodies and individuals can set up schools, but at no cost to the state. For private schools that ask for equality, the law must ensure full freedom and their pupils a scholastic treatment equivalent to that of pupils in state schools. High culture institutions,

The same Constitution states that “schools are open to all”; that lower education, given for at least eight years, is compulsory and free; that the capable and deserving, even if deprived of means, have the right to reach the highest grades of studies; that the Republic makes this right effective with scholarships, checks and other benefits, attributable by competition (art. 34). It also prescribes a state examination “for admission to the various orders and grades of schools or for their conclusion” (art. 33, paragraph 5). Finally, the Republic, according to the constitution, takes care of the training and professional development of workers (Article 35, paragraph 2) and ensures the disabled and handicapped the right to education and professional start-up (Article 38, paragraph 3). The Region, within the limits of the principles established by the laws of the state, it has legislative competence in the field of artisan and professional education and school assistance (art. 117). Other constitutional principles have an educational value, such as the equal social dignity and equality of citizens before the law (art.3), the protection of linguistic minorities (art.6), the equality of religious confessions before the law (art.. 8), the promotion of culture and scientific research and the protection of the landscape and the historical and artistic heritage of the nation (art. 9), the freedom of art and science and of their teaching (art. 33).

Partly in application of the aforementioned constitutional principles, which are part of the democratic turning point operated by Italian society immediately after the fall of fascism, and even more under the pressure of the growing needs caused by the economic, cultural and political development of the country and by an improved standard of living also of the less favored social classes, the Italian school system has gradually developed in its quantitative dimensions and also changing in the structures and regulations, in the organizational and management forms. In truth, apart from the growth of the school population which will be discussed below, the process of adapting the legal systems was slower than could have been foreseen at the beginning. The political leadership, in the post-war years which saw the reconstruction and economic recovery of the country, it was unable to find the unity necessary to launch a general and organic reorganization of the educational institutions. At that time there were many differences in the ideological and political  orientation of Italian society, while the economic and productive reality was anything but homogeneous in the various areas of the country. And certainly all this did not favor the formation of broad understandings to make choices and establish definite guidelines in the field of school policy, a subject as always delicate and complex. However, some significant steps have been taken since the early 1960s, albeit after laborious compromises in the legislative framework and with the limits that compromises inevitably entail in this field.  And certainly all this did not favor the formation of broad understandings to make choices and establish definite guidelines in the field of school policy, a subject as always delicate and complex. However, some significant steps have been taken since the early 1960s, albeit after laborious compromises in the legislative framework and with the limits that compromises inevitably entail in this field.

Significant changes have occurred in the pre-school sector. With the l. March 18, 1968 n. 444, the state kindergarten was first established in Italyfor children aged 3 to 5, divided into age sections. Previously, the nursery school was entrusted exclusively to the initiative of individuals or non-state entities. While confirming the principle of integration of the family work, the state nursery school is invested with compensatory tasks with respect to any environmental shortcomings. Changes to the organization of this school were made by l. 9 August 1978 n. 463, which among other things abolished the assistant and additional teacher figures provided for by the institutive law. The spread of this school on the national territory, where it is now present in conditions of numerical parity with the non-state one, required a significant financial effort from the state, which today manages about 13,000 school units. with over 60,000 teachers and 800,000 students. It is also provided for children from 0 to 3 years, who are welcomed with custody purposes in thenursery schools, established with the. 6 December 1971 n. 1044. The management of kindergartens belongs to the Municipalities; the programming is regional and the funding is partially state.

The elementary school has not undergone radical innovations, except as regards the teaching programs. After those launched in 1945 (Royal Lieutenancy May 24, 1945 n.459) under the Minister A. Omodeo, inspired by the democratic rebirth and with a clear secular character, the programs signed by Minister G. Ermini (Presidential Decree 14 June 1955) remained in force for a long time. 503), with a conservative imprint and marked by the pre-eminence accorded to Catholic teaching, placed at the foundation and crowning of education. Even the psycho-pedagogical and didactic criteria accepted appeared inadequate or generic (expressions such as “the child all intuition, fantasy, feeling”, or the “global intuition of the surrounding world”, are indicative of the style of such programs), especially in terms of cognitive processes and knowledge organization. The subdivision of the elementary course into two cycles, introduced in 1957 to replace the previous subdivision into two degrees, did not reveal any particular consistency on a scientific and pedagogical level. Since 1972, on the basis of the l. September 24, 1971 n. 820, a large experimentation of elementary school was startedfull time, with the adoption of supplementary activities and special courses in addition to the curricular courses. Other innovations in the elementary school organization were introduced by the l. August 4, 1977 n. 517, which contains similar provisions for middle school. In particular: the repair and second session exams have been abolished, as well as the exam for passing from the first to the second cycle; a new system of evaluation of the achievement was introduced, through the use of a ” personal file ” of the pupil for the collection of systematic observations on the learning process; criteria have been set out for educational planning under the responsibility of the teaching staff; the possibility of implementing forms of integration of handicapped pupils into normal classes. A ministerial commission, set up in 1981-82, identified the necessary points of reform of the legal system (which led to the law approved by Parliament in 1990) and elaborated the lines of the teaching programs currently in force (see below).

The most important step, destined to give decisive impetus to the implementation of the constitutional precept of a lower education extended to all in the first eight years of school, was taken with the establishment in 1963 of the middle schoolsole (l. December 31, 1962 n. 1859), which eliminated the double channel existing until then, the middle school of the Bottai reform on the one hand (which served as the lower grade of high school, master’s and technical secondary education courses) and the vocational training school on the other (which simply had the task of preparing children for trades, for the exercise of agricultural activities, for executive tasks in public and private employment). This double channel appeared to the most socially discriminating and pedagogically inappropriate as it required a premature choice of studies at this age level. With its unitary educational project – much more advanced than that of the starter school, but less than the curriculum of the previous ” middle ”, which included the compulsory teaching of Latin – the new middle school managed, within a few years, to achieve the goal of complete schooling of children of the corresponding age group. Changes to the organization of this school were introduced by l. June 16, 1977 n. 348, the most important of which consists in the elimination of the optionality of some courses foreseen by the 1962 norms: in particular, music education and technical education have become compulsory in all three-year classes, while Latin – before optional in the third class – it ceases entirely as independent teaching. The aforementioned l. August 4, 1977 n. 517 introduced other measures of organization of didactic activity, in common with the elementary school; thereby the first two degrees of

At the same time, a large commitment of public structures, through differentiated initiatives of popular education, significantly reduced the residual area of ​​illiteracy in the adult population. The popular schoolit was established with the Legislative Decree of the provisional head of state December 17, 1947, ratified with amendments by l. April 16, 1953 n. 326. It was a free school, day or evening, whose courses, authorized by the school supervisors and operating in elementary schools, factories, farms, barracks, prisons, etc., were intended, in addition to being illiterate in the proper sense., also to citizens who intended to complete lower education or receive a first professional orientation. Later, following contractual agreements between employers and trade unions, the initiative of experimental middle school courses for workers developed.(the so-called “150 hours” courses, as time paid annually by companies to employees who intend to follow study activities). The organization of these courses was entrusted to the Minister of Education in agreement with the trade unions. In this way, hundreds of thousands of workers have completed lower education and graduated from middle school.

In the upper secondary education bracket, no general reorganization laws have been introduced, although the problem of reforming this sector has been at the center of the debate on school policy, especially in the last twenty years. In 1970, a group of experts gathered in Frascati, on the initiative of the Italian government in collaboration with the OECD, put forward the hypothesis of a strongly unitary upper secondary school, characterized by a study plan including common, optional and elective subjects, ” such as to allow a progressive cultural orientation in specific directions “. On the basis of this hypothesis, the so-called ” Biasini Commission ” was commissioned to develop a concrete reform project. Since 1972 the various political parties represented in Parliament have presented their reform projects on various occasions. A draft of a unified text arrived in 1978 until the approval of the Public Education Commission of the Chamber of Deputies. It envisaged, within the unitary context of the upper secondary school, 4 areas of professionalism (artistic, linguistic-literary, social sciences, naturalistic-mathematical-technological), comprising a total of 17 addresses. The most intricate problem to be solved remained that of the relationship between general cultural education and specific or professionalizing direction of studies. A new and more elaborate reform project managed to obtain the approval of the Senate in 1983, but, due to the many perplexities and reservations that the compromise it devised aroused, it did not find the final approval of the Parliament. The only innovation common to the entire upper secondary school sector concerned the discipline offinal exams (final of these studies); this discipline, introduced on an experimental basis and for a duration of two years (l. April 5, 1969 no. 119), and then extended (l. April 15, 1971, no. 146), remained in force despite its evident limitations (generic objectives, uncertain criteria, tests reduced to a minimum, etc.) and the disqualifying results reported by all.

However, in the individual secondary education courses, progress and innovations have been recorded in another way, certainly limited and partial, and nevertheless indicative of a situation in motion, under the pressure of didactic innovation and experimentation. First of all, a successful initiative of the school administration led to the birth and progressive affirmation (starting from the mid-1950s) of state professional institutes through which it has been possible to gradually meet the growing needs of first level technicians in the agricultural, industrial and service fields. The professional qualification courses organized by these institutes represent the first and only case of short cycle studies (usually three years) existing in Italy in the context of upper secondary school. Higher courses in art institutes can be assimilated to them, also lasting three years, which issue qualification diplomas as head of art or master of art. To both, following the l. September 14, 1970 n. 692, two-year courses can be added, which extend the duration of the studies to five years, thus allowing those attending to take the professional maturity or art teacher state exam. An innovative project developed by the Minister of Education, the so-called ” Project ’92’ ‘, is being tested in many professional institutes and aims to strengthen the cultural training of students and at the same time to unify for large areas the large group of professional addresses that exist today. With the extension on the national territory of the professional institutes,, lasting two years, was gradually reabsorbed until its disappearance. Meanwhile took shape the initiative of the Regions in the field of vocational training, especially after the launch of the framework law of 1978 (v. Professional, training, in this Appendix). The state technical institutes, although deprived of the lower courses transformed into the current middle school, they continue to be governed by l. June 15, 1931 n. 889. New teaching schedules and programs, however, were adopted in 1961 and again, with regard to some courses, in 1972 and 1981. The new type of baccalaureate exam and the so-called liberalization of university admissions, both arranged in 1969, have raised not a few concerns in professional circles due to the feared loss of professionalism of the various branches of technical education, which nevertheless represent a large part of upper secondary education. Since the mid-1960s, numerous evening sections for student-workers have been established, which in 1972-73 were aligned with the five-year day courses of the technical institutes.

No significant regulatory intervention directly concerned the high school sector, although the establishment of the single middle school in 1962 and the reform of the high school exam in 1969, modifying some formative conditions at the entrance and termination of study courses, they would have recommended a restructuring of high school curricula and updating of teaching programs. On the other hand, it was preferred to postpone this adjustment pending the overall reform of the upper secondary school, with the result of leaving the organization of this sector unchanged before the war. On the other hand, linguistic high schools have arisen through private initiative, whose study plan, provided for by a ministerial decree, is divided into a two-year and a three-year period, at the end of which the linguistic license is obtained.

All the studies in upper secondary education, pending the general reform of the sector so far not launched by Parliament, have been significantly affected by experimentation processes, both of a methodological-didactic type (so-called mini-experimentation) and relating to structures and regulations (so-called max-experimentation), the possibility of which was foreseen and governed by the Presidential Decree of 31 May 1974 n. 419. Using this route, the schools have launched numerous projects for the modification of curricula and updating of teaching programs on the basis of a simple authorization from the Ministry of Public Education, which has also ensured technical assistance for ongoing initiatives. of the inspection body. Special projects, developed on a national level by the aforementioned ministry, especially in the technical education sector, have led to the adoption of new curricula based on largely new technical-professional profiles, required by the transformations that have taken place in production processes and services. Finally, it is worth mentioning a vast project for the revision of study plans and teaching programs, relating to the entire range of upper secondary education, developed by a ministerial commission of experts at the end of the 1980s. From 1991-92, a number of high schools and technical colleges were authorized to adopt such programs on an experimental basis.

In the field of university and post-secondary studies, after the restoration, immediately after the war, of university autonomy (power of the academic bodies to elect the rector and the deans; restitution to the faculties of the power to decide on the destination of chairs, on the appointments and transfers of professors, etc.), the first significant regulatory intervention, mostly of a negative sign, concerned the so-called ” liberalization of university accesses ” and of study plans, established by l. 11 December 1969 n. 910. With this, enrollment in any university faculty was allowed for students in possession of any high school diploma relating to five-year upper secondary education courses, ignoring the need for congruity between middle-secondary and university ones, and not providing adequate forms of guidance for the choice of addresses. The abolition of free teaching in 1970 and the abolition of the role of assistants left open the problem of external recruitment channels for the teaching staff, just at a time when the number of students was significantly increasing and existing structures were enlarged with the creation of new ones. faculties and universities (thanks also to considerable financial interventions by the state, especially in the construction field). It was only in 1980 that a legislative measure was passed with which some problems in the university situation were addressed, which in the meantime had become tormented by the difficulties of political power in responding both to the demands of the student world and to internal tensions among university staff. Although not welcomed by all, the enabling law no. 28 (and the consequent delegated norms of the Presidential Decree of 11 July 1980 n.382) has, on the one hand, ordered a significant expansion of the staff (introducing, moreover, much discussed forms of recruitment) and given a new structure to university teaching (with the ‘establishment of four distinct professors: extraordinary and full professors, associate professors, researcher, contract professor) and, on the other hand, allowed the experimentation of new organizational and didactic forms, the latter intended “as the identification and verification of new ways of carrying out research and teaching activities “. The innovations envisaged include: the possibility of setting up departments for related disciplines, without however abolishing the institutes and faculties provided for by the previous system; the establishment of the research doctorate, as a postgraduate academic qualification; the possibility of experimenting teaching methods to make teaching more profitable, also in connection with other public and private scientific and economic bodies. Also the sector of direct schools for special purposes, of specialization schools and of advanced courses have been reorganized with dPR 10 March 1982 n. 162. With the establishment of the new Ministry of University and Scientific and Technological Research (see below), the re-launching and modernization of the entire higher education sector was started, also in the perspective of a better connection with the non-university research and with the needs of the productive world. Norms on the development plan of universities and on the establishment of new universities and new faculties are contained in l. 7 August 1990 n. 245. The l. November 19, 1990 n. 341, on the reform of the didactic systems, introduces important innovations, such as the university diploma, which universities can issue after two or three years of course, and the tutoring for orientation and assistance to students.

Italy Education

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