Demographic decline, multi-class return to primary school, decreasing the number of students per class is not enough; what will the new minister do?

The plan of interventions for the school that should be carried out in the PNRR is broad and certainly does not stop at the problems of training and recruitment of teachers referred to in the Legislative Decree 36, converted at the end of June.
In the last few months, the Minister Patrizio Bianchi had already announced the presentation of a reform of the entire school system, which would above all allow for an adequate management of the many problems associated with the demographic decline.
More than once, the minister reminded that in about ten years there will be one million fewer students in Italian schools.
We don’t know if they already started working on the issue before the crisis in Viale Trastevere, which led to the fall of the government, but the fact remains that the issue is absolutely unavoidable.
Especially in kindergarten, and perhaps even more so in primary school, the demographic decrease, at least in the peripheral areas, cannot be countered in any way by reducing the number of students per class.
The fact is that even if the maximum ceiling is lowered, there are still cases, not very sporadic, where it becomes difficult to guarantee the formation of classes, which, understandably, must have a minimum number of students.
And precisely because of the existence of the minimum ceilings, in many realities the so-called “multi-classes”, made up of students of different age categories, return to the top.
There is no exact data, but the feeling is that the phenomenon is getting bigger and bigger, a phenomenon that – physiologically in small towns or hamlets – looks unnatural instead of in small and medium-sized centers.
Born immediately after the war, the multi-classes fulfilled an important and completely unavoidable function, as he reminds us. a detailed study conducted by Francesca Pizzigoni, Indire researcher.
In the immediate post-war period – the researcher points out – almost one out of two schools lacked an entire elementary school course, with the result that at least 20% of the school population was involved in multi-classes.
The phenomenon was so important that the Ministry even organized specific refresher courses for teachers for multi-class teachers, with the aim of making them especially experts in “individualized teaching”.
After 70 years, due to the demographic decline, the topic returns even if obviously contexts and learning environments change.
We will see what the new minister wants to do to address an issue that is now unavoidable.

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