The Italian School System: Strengths and weaknesses

Time Wednesday, 05/Sep/2018: 13:30 - 15:00
Location D1.03
Speakers Elisabetta Nigris; Renata Viganò; Luisa Zecca; Roberta Cardarello; Lucia Balduzzi
Chair Wallnöfer Gerwald

In the last years the Italian School system has been characterized by several changes concerning the legislative framework and the institutional organization. The legislative reforms on one hand have revived interest in the school world and strengthened some aspects which are our educational endowments, recognized worldwide (0-6 system and the concept of educational continuity) and on the other hand, they have raised some delicate issues which have always been debated: the evaluation matter, the vertical curriculum and the reading comprehension, where Italian students have some weaknesses.

The first presentation, by L. Balduzzi, will discuss the recent reform undertaken under the Decree 65/2017 – implying the shift from a split ECEC system (where 0–3 and 3–6 services fell under different ministries) into an integrated system of services from birth to the beginning of compulsory school. The implications of the changes introduced by the reform will be critically analysed in the light of recent EU policy principles, such as the European Quality Framework (European Commission Thematic Working Group on ECEC, 2014), and research on competent system in ECEC (Urban et al., 2011). In particular, the issues of pedagogical coordination and continuity of educational approaches will be problematized, in relation to the reform.

The second contribution, by L. Zecca shows the dispute on the gaps of the educational experience of pupils between the age of 3 and 14 in Italian schools (infance, primary and first level of secondary) despite the inclusion in Comprehensive Institutes. If discontinuity is intentionally planned, it helps teachers to stimulate growth and development in children. At the same time the building of bonds that help continuity amongst the people and the school is created with the same aim. Our focus is on the causes of continuity and discontinuity in education and in the present curriculum (2012 National Indications) from an institutionl point of view and through the results of a qualitative study on teacher practice and their perceptions. The final goal is to highlight both the tensions and the directions.

The third presentation, by R. Viganò examines assessment and evaluation issues. Starting from 2013, in particular, with the launch of the National System of Assessment and Evaluation, schools have been pushed to deal in a new way with evaluation; this has moved gradually from being a practice of exclusive relevance of the teacher in his/her daily action to be a process related to the overall functioning of the school and of the school system. In recent years the national surveys of learning, the evaluation of schools, teachers and school leaders have been introduced. This transformation has caused a debate still open both in the scientific community and in the public opinion. The speech will briefly put into evidence some critical points according to an educational perspective and taking into account the results of recent researches. Issues and challenges for educational research will also be highlighted.

The fourth presentation, by R. Cardarello, will report on Literacy, reading and writing, which are considered the first key competence in EU (2006). The presentation on literacy will address some critical issues in Italian school system, moving from the data on reading skills: the Italian students’ reading skills seem poorly dependent on the teaching/learning process and on the educational system influence. More specifically the presentation will examine the reading comprehension skills, as one of the areas to be strengthened, will discuss the research results about this problem, and some innovative lines of action in the Italian school system.

The contents will be debated with the discussant, Elisabetta Nigris.

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