Schools no longer speak Italian: 50 thousand foreigners

Schools no longer speak Italian: 50 thousand foreigners
by Augusto Pozzoli

Emergency in the Italian institutes of Milan: 6 thousand more enrolled since 2007, in some cases the percentage of immigrants is 85%, but the funding, and the assistant teachers, are always less.

The Milan State schools are becoming more and more multi-ethnic. Starting from the next school year, the institutes of the province expect 48 thousand non-Italians enroll: 6 thousand more since last year. An actual emergency with inadequate funding to deal with the problem. «In 2000» Pippo Frisone recalls,«There were 200 assistant teachers available, they were the ones who took on the role of integrating these students in to the system: a number that has dropped to 94, where, in the meantime, the number of the enrolled has doubled.»

With these conditions, it’s therefore difficult to satisfy the school’s needs. In light of this, a summit took place at the USP (The School office of the Pronvince in Via Ripamonti, with the head, Antonio Lupacchino, to try and decided hw to distribute the little funding that there is. In conclusion, many problems remained untouched.

«In order to avoid this from happening next year,» said Lupacchino, «we will have to revisit the criterias to try and handle these complex problems.»

The Plexus in Via Paravia has registered that non Italian students make up 85% of the enrolled, but there isn’t a single assistant teacher there. How is this possible? The school belongs to an educational cycle that is joint to another plexus, in which Italian children study: merged together, the two plexuses do not allow the right of learning with scholastic support.

School and town council administration are working together to find a solution for this emergency in order to find means of distributions for the students and to avoid "ghetto" schools from forming, and to increase the teachers’ qualifications so that the work for integration could become more efficient. There is already talk about opening workshops specifically aimed at students who enroll in school but do not know Italian: if they overcome this language problem, the newly-enrolled can attend classes as normal.

It’s step forward that allows an integration strategy to take place. This is the key and the most urgent obstacle to overcome. Experts have been saying it for some time now, but while the school administration continues to provide statistics on events that are now more than a year old, and especially without being able to distinguish between Italian students that have been living in Italy and going to our schools for years now, and the new arrivals that are lacking any linguistic ability.

The Secretary of the CGIL school, Attilio Paparazzo, sent a letter to Letizia Moratti, which read «the difficulty to communicate generates ignorance, ignorance generates fear and fear produces feeling of distrust, or worse, hostility in schools, and would contribute to conflict and constant future intervention, with specialized and not precarious staff, with structured elasticity that could ensure only the organic function to the school’s essential needs to face the arrival of immigrants.»
This means taking part in a goverment in order to collect more funding.

Source: IL GIORNALE n.35, pg 10 2008-09-01

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