One of the most important moments in the relationship between the school and families in parental education is approaching: the ascertainment of the “duty of education”. With this step, parents are required to demonstrate, in the face of their declaration of directly assuming the functions related to the education of their children, that this duty has actually been implemented.
A representation of this important moment of the aforementioned report is expressed in the following terms: young people in parental education face “the exam for passing to the next class”.
This second case is the one that arises from a “first layer” reading of the current legislation and which tends to be generalized especially by school managers.
The theme is anchored to some conceptual elements and to others of a legislative-legal nature.
Those who have opted for the methods of parental education, have undertaken learning paths, and in some cases of education, which are supported and are substantiated in attitudes and implementation articulations quite different from school ones, or in other cases they adhere to them in totoin others only partially.
All this is consistent with the new and old acquisitions in education and especially learning.
The more effective approach to knowledge and skills through informal and non-formal learning is now an acquired and not refuted evidence in national and international contexts.
It goes without saying that the rigid organization of teaching, in terms of timing and content inherent in the school method, does not in many cases coincide with the methods of parental education.
In fact, considering that the in-depth studies and studies of homeschoolers (not in all cases but in many) arise from interests that arise and are linked from the encounter with the complexity of reality, the timing and content take on conformations that are difficult to coincide with school ones. .
The latter are inherent in a character of the school, that of being a service aimed at groups of young people who at the same time and place are activated for a specific and distinct function: that of following a teacher who gives them instruction. As a group situation, the administration and the consequent verification can only take place in the terms in which it occurs, probably despite a lot of good will to proceed in a less summary manner and / or according to the concept of the lowest common denominator.
This means that whoever is practicing parental education is betraying what must be, for every citizen, the care of one of the common goods more precious, “The full development of the person”, through education, learning and education?
Or: if you carry out what the school services have prepared for these categories, are you adequate for the above noble purpose, otherwise you are not?
The answer seems obvious but it may not be, at least 50%.
After these brief conceptual hints, it is appropriate to recall some structural elements that support the general system and within it the phenomenon of parental education, with reference to the topic of assessment / examination.
The Ministerial Decree 489 of 2001, art. 2 paragraph 7, is clearly expressed: those who are in parental education and intend to return to school are required to take the eligibility exam for the class they wish to access.
A possible reading of article 23 of Legislative Decree 62/2017 tends to confirm the stated purpose: whoever is in parental education takes the exam annually for the passage to the next class.
The Ministerial Decree 5 of February 2021 (art. 2 paragraph 6) introduces a specific: whoever is in parental education takes the suitability exam….for the purpose of verifying the duty of education. The purpose and in the same way the instrumental character of the exam test.
The suitability test has no value in itself as a tool that provides proven proof that a particular young person is abreast with his peers for the race between the classes in which the career of the young learner is divided.
The purpose of this exam it is something else: that of being an instrument in the hands of the institution to ascertain that those parents have valued their child’s right to be learning and educated.
Considering that the learning paths can legitimize, indeed they must necessarily be customized (Ministerial Decree 254/2012), even if they have to articulate around to the general principles for the formation of the curriculum, it is coherent and obligatory that the phase of ascertaining the duty of education takes place in coherence with the courses themselves.
If this did not happen, there would be a clear and serious contrast with both the aforementioned Ministerial Decree, which very opportunely and appropriately focuses on the category of assessment, as well as with articles 1 and 2 of Legislative Decree 62/2017 which conform to it.
Ministerial Decree 5 of 2021 introduces a highly intelligent instrument of the parental education phenomenon: the didactic educational project (final balance). In the same way it indicates the use that must be made of it: it must be set as a basis and continuous reference for the structuring of the assessment / examination.
In these brief notes, just above, the figure 50% appeared; the purpose is this: for the 2020/2021 school year, the Family Education Association (LAIF) carried out a survey of homeschoolers at the end of the year. Among the questions that received very interesting answers, there was the one that asked if it turned out that the Educational Didactic Project had been taken into due consideration in the formulation and development of theexam; the positive responses did not reach 50%!
The didactic-educational project, which should have been the basis of the school-family relationship, seems in too many cases to have been written with sympathetic ink!
With this bare figure, the quality of the school system’s approach to parental education is declared.
What to say?
Also this year the PDE, which could more appropriately be called the Didactic Educational Project, is placed in the same conceptual and normative terms ?!
Homeschoolers are waiting for a one-to-one correspondence in institutional relationships, hoping to be able to carry out the tiring, difficult and constitutional parental role with the necessary serenity.
Again with reference to the LAIF survey, if on the one hand a dynamic of inclusion and recognition is revealed, on the other, inexplicably, attitudes of self-referentiality prevail.
Moments of dialogue and confrontation between the actors of the education and training system; if, on the other hand, the directions of development are stubbornly set in the direction of and contrary to that of collaboration, it can well be said that those opportunities for change and innovation that this particular historical moment requires and strongly demands have been thrown away.
Sergio Leali – LAIF President