“Expert teacher”, 33,000 Sicilian teachers are at risk of exclusion

A check of 5,650 euros, distributed over 14 months, which will be paid “ad personam” to 32 thousand teachers from the school year 2032/2033 to 2035/2036. This is what the provision on the “expert teacher” provided by the Draghi government in the Aid Bis law decree, just published in the Official Gazette. Abacus in hand, the selection of “experts” will begin in ten years and will be completed in 14 years. A road map that risks leaving out a large group of teachers for purely personal reasons. In addition, the selection procedures are not yet known, postponed until further decrees and considering that the elections of the new national executive are soon, the ball goes to who will arrive. According to the open data of the Ministry of Education, there are over 33,000 Sicilian teachers over the age of 54, out of around 85,000 permanent teachers. From the whole country, those over 54 rise to 300,000, out of a total of 695,000 permanent teachers. “In 2032, many of them will already be retired or very close to it, and will actually be cut off from benefits,” Salvo Amato, a Sicilian professor who launched an online signature collection against the law, tells FocuSicilia. In a short time it exceeded 60 thousand subscriptions.

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The details of the standard

In detail, Article 38 of the aid decree provides for an increase of 400 euros per month for 14 months for “teachers who have achieved a positive evaluation to overcome three consecutive and non-overlapping trainings”. As already mentioned, there are a total of 32 thousand teachers – eight thousand a year for four school years – but the concrete selection methods are postponed to a later date. In fact, the Aid bis decree provides that the criteria “will be left to the collective agreement”, referring to a future regulation that “if not issued for the school year 2023/2024”, by a joint decree of the Ministers of Education and Economy. Only one criterion has already been determined. The expert teacher, as stated in the Aid to Decree, “must stay at the school for at least the three years after obtaining the aforementioned qualification”. Another problem, critics of the rule say, should be recognition close to retirement.

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Sicilian Petition

Other critical issues are highlighted in the petition launched by Amato. That of the expert teacher is defined as “an abnormal idea” because it “represents the attempt to donate sums that would be a real salary increase for everyone, and which instead has been granted to only one teacher out of 100, while the other 99 are defined as inexperienced can be”. The signatories consider the initiative as “the antithesis of the assessment of merit”, and find in it “provisions of unconstitutionality, because it was drafted and discussed in loose chambers”. For this reason, the signatories of Prime Minister Mario Draghi request “that the rule be removed from the draft aid decree”. A will of some political forces, including the Democratic Party. According to the president of the deputies of the Democratic Party Simona Malpezzi, the rule is “deeply wrong” also because it was introduced “without confrontation with the social forces”. Reason why the Democratic Party intends to ask the government for “the abolition of the Aid to Decree” when in September the legislative decree comes to the chamber for conversion.

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A new formation

The interventions of the Draghi government on teacher training did not begin with the Aid to Decree. In the spring of 2022, the executive incorporated some rules about schools in the decree Pnrr 2. In particular, the number of training credits required to participate in the competition for the professorship was increased from 24 to 60. This increase will start from the school year 2025/2026, and as already happens “the costs of the university and academic courses leading to the achievement of the teaching qualification will be borne by the participants”. In addition, a new institution will be set up, the higher education, which will be financed with “two million euros a year”. From 2023 to 2026, this will be done with funds from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Among the tasks of the new subject, “Promotion and coordination of the training of teachers in service”, including the training necessary to obtain the qualification of expert. This training activity, finally specifies the decree, is carried out “outside the teaching hours”.

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