28 SES 08, Comprehensive School and Inequality in France and Italy
The strength link between pupils’ performance and inequalities in countries like Italy or France was showed by different researches in sociology of education starting 70’ (Bourdieu and Passeron 1970, Bernstein 1971, Gambetta 1987, Benadusi and Bottani 2006, Baudelot and Establet 2009, Giancola 2010). The aim of this work is to analyse the contemporary context of Italian and French secondary schools systems.
We chose to analyse these two countries because the results of PISA research show that they are two opposite countries. The PISA survey 2012 shows that Italy is a country with a performance below OECD average and equity education outcomes above OCDE average. On the contrary, France is a country with performance above OCDE average. What are the differences between Italian and French secondary systems?
The Survey 2012 illustrates that performances of Italian pupils are considerably increasing but the average stay below OECD results, on the contrary French pupils achieve results above OECD average, but their performances are decreasing compared the French performance of previous PISA survey.
According to Eurydice Report 2013 both of secondary school systems considered are characterized by a common core curriculum provision. The pupils after completion of primary education progress to the lower secondary level where they follow the same general common core curriculum. For both countries analysed the compulsory education goes on 10 years and It finishes when pupils are 16 years old. For the Italian pupils the moment of choice of school track takes place when they are 14 years old (if they follow a regular school path) and for the French pupils it occur when they are 15 years old. The transition from lower secondary school to upper secondary school produces, in both countries considered, different kinds of social and scholar inequalities. The purpose of this paper is analyse these inequalities in order to characterize the different mechanisms of this phenomena.
In both of countries analysed starting ‘2000 occurred a governance transformation in which the school autonomy produces a different hierarchy of school policies. This is very important because each educational institute policies influences pupils’ performance and scholar inequalities.
One of the most important differences between these scholar systems is that In Italy the lower secondary school certificate is necessary to access high school, on the contrary the “brevet” is not necessary to access upper secondary school (it’s the final grade point average that determinates the access to high school).
Another element that is very important in the mechanism of inequalities is the repetition phenomena. French system is characterized by a higher rate of “redoublement”. Indeed, in 2003 the French system had a repetition rate of 39%. In 2012 we observe a decline of this event; the rate of pupils that were repeated a year was among 28%. In Italy we have a rate of repetition that is getting to 17%. In French context families use the repetition as a strategy to influence the system, and this produces a negative effect for the pupils and the system (Rocher 2008).
It is very important, in this comparative exercise, to consider the national origin of pupils as a discriminant element for performance. France is a country with a long immigration history that receives foreign pupils since the mid-19th century. Italy is a recent country of immigration that started to greet foreign pupils in last 15 or 10 years.
We assume the idea that in both systems analysed the choice of school track produces a high level of inequalities and we want enquire the other elements that contribute to this phenomena.
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