Next year, something new is awaiting the Italian public school system. With a decree named “Buona Scuola”, high school students will have the possibility to choose among all the courses offered, the ones they like and they are interested in the most. “Students must follow their dreams and refine their talents“ said senator Francesca Puglisi, one of the creators of the decree from the Democratic Party. “With the Student’s Curriculum we are going to make schedules more flexible”. Even if this is probably the most radical change the Minister for Education Stefania Giannini is going to apply to Italian high school system, the Government is also working on other measures.
How Will Public Schools Change?
The “Buona Scuola” dossier is composed by two different sections: the first one is a decree that minister Giannini wants to develop before the beginning of the next scholastic year. This decree contains measures that will try to improve the problem of temporary employment. Every temporary employed professor enlisted in the provincial rankings will be hired. Moreover, this first decree contains the so-called “Students Packet”, that is, the previously explained possibility for high school students to choose their classes on their own. Until now, students can only choose the typology of high school they want to attend. Unlike other systems –like the US system – high school programs are “fixed” and decided “from above”. Students choose among different set of class “packages” presenting distinctive variations inside them.
With this new decree, the Italian system would be revolutionized. “There will be mandatory and facultative classes, but it is up to the student to choose what he is interested in” senator Puglisi states.
But what are other European schooling systems in the countries around Italy?
How Does the School System Work in Rest of Europe?
In France, the first reform that had a great impact on the school system was the reform of 1975. That reform established new professional schools. Generally, French high schools are similar to the Italian ones. Students can interrupt their studies when they are 16 or continue studying in general or professional high schools (Lycee in French). French students are not free to choose among all classes until the last two years of collège
that is a 4 years period corresponding to middle school. At the end of the collège, the students have to sit final exams. These exams will decide if they can pass to the next level of education. These last two years French students spend in the collège have a more practical approach. Students that fail to attend the last year will attend pre-professional or apprenticeship classes. French Lycees are split in Scientific, Economic, and Classic high schools.
In Germany, students are also free to choose their classes when they reach high school. However, it is up to the teachers to decide which kind of school their students will attend to. At the end of the 5th and 6th year of primary school, teachers judge their students suggesting them which school they should choose. These advices are not mandatory, but almost every student (and parents) follow them. Students can be sent in four different kind of schools after elementary schools: Gymnasium, Realschule, Hauptschule and Gesamtschule, with different grades of difficulty and specific preparation. Every German high school is a modular system. Classes students decide to take will define their final exam at the end of the high school itself. In this system, boys and girls are funneled into pre-existent patterns depending on their ability and talents. They can change their school career at any moment; however, deciding early about a student career is a social accepted habitude, even if the student is 9 or 10 years old.
In the case of Sweden instead, students can individually choose the typology of high school they want to attend, but they will have to face fixed classes, pretty much as in Italy. The Gymnasieskolan (the Swedish high school) is split in six typologies: economic, scientific, classic, social, technologic, and linguistic. There are also 12 professional schools, like the mechanical and the construction industry related high school.
How Will the New Reforms Change Italian Public Schools?
The new features the Italian government is trying to develop in the school system are clearly imitating the solutions that other countries have adopted. “Buona Scuola” is moving towards a new kind of high school system. A system that might be more connected to the jobs market, but also a system that will ask new generations to be more responsible about their future.