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Italy Postpones School Reform

The Italian rightwing government has partially backtracked this evening on its intent to radically overhaul the Italian educational system. After negotiations between the government and union representatives, the government agreed to accept guidelines and criticism by the competent parliamentary commissions as well as postpone the "Gelmini Reform" for one year for secondary schools and lyceums.  

The "reform" of  the primary school will be introduced as an option to the present system rather than as a top down overhaul with an eye on massive budget cuts.  The full 40 hour week with two principal teachers will remain a choice for parents. The contested decree 133, converted into law last month, had been ambiguous on this point when not outright illogical. While the law did not exclude full time it set a maximum limit of 24 hours per week for a single teacher. It was unclear how the remaining 16 hours would be filled. Minister Gelmini lightly remarked that the missing time could be handled by "English" and "Religion" teaching, the former most often far below par, the latter unwelcome by 35% of the population. Before the 1990 reform that introduced two teachers per class for full time, children were traditionally parked in the afternoon under the watchful eyes of janitors.

The real problem with the school of obligation is secondary school. It runs an extra year in comparison with other European systems while students fair poorly in all fields in comparison. Unfortunately Mariastella Gelmini at the behest of the Minister of Economy first attacked the primary school thus creating a very negative impression. The Italian elementary school is considered excellent by international standards. What little needs to be done in terms of waste and mismanagement concerns infrastructure and administration- certainly not the primary educational system per se. Conversely, secondary education is presently in shambles and does need a well thought out reform. To do so takes time as well as an ample and constructive debate by all concerned parties. This cannot be imposed by off-the-cuff decrees and confidence votes in parliament.

Perhaps the government has an eye on tomorrow's massive strike and are simply putting out a good card to feign altruism. If there are riots, it will be good excuse to take back their word. Given Berlusconi's precedents, it's not to be excluded.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:36:34 PM EST
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thanks de G, for your usual high-pith-factor help in deciphering the murky code of italian politics.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 06:49:49 AM EST
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The general strike has been dampened by very bad weather throughout Italy. It is an emergency. Rome will be hit by a wave of mud this evening.I have never seen the Tiber so high. I suppose Berlusconi corrupted God to ruin the strike. God just got a little outta hand.

Otherwise it's Jesuit vengeance for Italy's evil ways.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Dec 12th, 2008 at 10:42:43 AM EST
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