An Analysis of the League’s Education Program | A. Gavosto

Schools and universities are mentioned, with more or less dedicated space, in the programs of all political candidate parties. In a series of articles, we analyze some of the proposals. Here are the ones from the League program.

The training of teachers

Unlike other parties examined so far (here, here, here and here), the Lega program goes into depth on some aspects of the current state of education in Italy, such as the quality of teaching and support for students with disabilities. At the same time, however, he recalls “slogans” specifically aimed at his electorate, such as propaganda in schools, which are rather questionable. Let’s see the main issues addressed.

The Pact for school proposed by Matteo Salvini’s party begins by defining in detail the training required of teachers: “Teachers trained in general and special didactics, general and special pedagogy aimed at special educational needs, experimental pedagogy, disciplinary didactics, pedagogical-didactic laboratories , information and communication technologies for teaching, with psycho-aptitude assessment at the entrance and in itinere “.

Beyond the psycho-aptitude tests, which would certainly be a source of controversy in the school world, even if they are foreseen for other public professions, the profile drawn by the League responds to an accurate description of the contents of the training of a modern teacher: in particular, comparisons international underline the delay of Italian teachers in the teaching skills of the individual disciplines; furthermore, the study of experimental pedagogy would help to better understand the nature and purposes of evaluation, which is often opposed within the school.

Support for students with disabilities

An interesting study is dedicated to the theme of support, typically neglected by the programs of other parties, if not for the promise of hiring extra teachers. The League notes that “over a third of the teachers currently in charge of a support post lack specialization, or the necessary training”, censuring the absence of specific training of many support teachers, especially following the reduced number of posts in the specialization courses offered by universities. The proposal is therefore that “those who have at least three years of experience in the field in supporting pupils with disabilities must have direct access to specialization courses”: in other words, allow teachers who have already put together some experience of take courses and internships dedicated to support, forcing universities to make them available. The number of support teachers without a tenured position has in fact reached 122 thousand out of 200 thousand, creating continuous didactic discontinuities to the detriment of particularly fragile students such as those with disabilities: a rapid response to the emergency, also provided for in the recent law on recruitment appears inevitable at this point.

The Lega program also addresses the issue of technical and professional institutes, underlining the need to make the latter more competitive (which in all surveys provide very modest learning results) and to better link the contents to the needs of the local production system. . On the other hand, there is no explicit reference – and it is interesting – to differentiated autonomy in schools, that is, the transfer of competences to the regions. The program also calls for a strengthening of the school-work alternation, today “Paths for transversal skills and orientation”: shared, but it should be remembered that it was Marco Bussetti, a minister of the League, who reshaped its scope, especially in high schools.

The question of “propaganda”

On the other hand, another point of the League’s program raises many doubts, when it states “Stop propaganda at school. For any educational proposal included in the enrollment application, in the educational co-responsibility pact, in the training offer plan and in the various laboratory and / or project activities, in particular with regard to projects relating to bullying, education to affectivity, overcoming discrimination gender and sexual orientation, equal opportunities, early school leaving, citizenship and legality education and any other initiative that involves the sphere of values ​​and sexual education, there must be the explicit and free consent of parents or those who make it take your place “.

The implication is that if not all parents agree, nothing is done. Difficult to agree. In the first place, it is wrong to think that addressing these issues at school determines those behaviors that the League wants to censor: how did it explain Xavier Bettel, the gay prime minister of Luxembourg, to Viktor Orban, commenting on the Hungarian law banning the representation of gender identities other than sex at birth, was certainly not having watched a TV broadcast at the origin of his homosexuality. Secondly, issues such as overcoming discrimination, equal opportunities, the fight against bullying, the fight against early school leaving and citizenship education derive directly from state laws, international treaties or the Constitution itself: for example, citizenship competences are the subject of periodic analyzes in all advanced countries, just like those of understanding language or mathematics, because at the international level it is believed that they must be an integral part in order to act as responsible citizens and to participate fully in community life. Frankly, on this basis, theopt-out from these teachings it is equivalent to giving students the possibility of not following Italian or mathematics anymore.

Finally, the League relaunches its historic workhorse, overcoming the precariousness, through the recruitment of 150-200 thousand annual fixed-term teachers. The question is obviously serious and real; put this way, however, the proposal has two problems. First, it does not guarantee an improvement in the quality of teaching: in the text, in fact, there is no mention of any form of selection of new teachers, who should be hired as they have already been in the school for some time. Second, given the ongoing demographic decline, such a massive entry of teachers in just one year would risk blocking the hiring of new graduates for many years to come. Ultimately, more than a proposal to improve the school, it appears one captatio benevolentiae all electoral.

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Andrea Gavosto

Andrea Gavosto has been director of the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation since 2008. Under his direction, the Foundation has concentrated its research activities on education issues, publishing studies and reports on the education system and universities in Italy. He graduated in Economics from the University of Turin, completing his academic training at the London School of Economics. He was Chief Economist of Fiat Group and Telecom Italia; he also worked in the research department of the Bank of Italy. He was NBER’s Visiting Fellow. He has published numerous essays on macroeconomics, labor economics and education.

An Analysis of the League’s Education Program | A. Gavosto