Lorenzo Parelli was 18 years old and went to a regional vocational training center. He died while doing an internship, which is necessary to obtain a qualification that would have introduced him directly into the world of work. Less than a month later, Giuseppe Lenoci, 16, also died in a road accident while doing an internship in a professional training course in sanitation and heating.
The two students were not part of the school-work diversion, today called PCTO (Pathways to Transversal Skills and Orientation in State School). This does not change anything and liberates no one, but it is necessary to presume to understand what the school world has undertaken and what the connections with the student protest that has meanwhile been triggered throughout Italy. Student movements have mobilized by criticizing the management of the school during the pandemic, the inadequacy of many school buildings, the lack of space for democracy and student participation in school life and in contrast to the now explicit process of corporatization of the school, which it has. reduced training and instruction on a range of skills – to obtain, assess, certify – among which entrepreneurship stands out.
In 2018, Miur published a curriculum for entrepreneurship education in schools, developed by a group of actors including the Association of Teachers and School Managers, Ubi Banca (failed business), Microsoft and a large number of companies starting promote technological ups and downs. and digital innovation. The funding for schools from the European Structural Funds was then linked to this curriculum, in order to start projects from the first cycle, ie from the primary school. With a techno-bureaucratic language borrowed from the business world, a person’s entire life is brought back to the bed of a business. From this kind of document emerges the crucial curvature that European liberal ideology has for some time been imparting to a school designed by economic entities, companies, banking foundations. The diversification of school work is fully part of this corporate logic and is therefore strongly criticized by the student movements.
The deaths of the two boys call into question various aspects of the relationship between school and work, most notably, but not limited to, the social logic underlying the school-work alternation.
However, the two deaths also call into question other aspects of the relationship between school and work, which can be clarified by analyzing the contexts in which this relationship takes place (which I have discussed in more detail here). Vocational training in Italy is divided between state vocational training, conducted in state vocational institutes, which issue classic five-year diplomas, and vocational training under the jurisdiction of the regions, carried out by the various private vocational training bodies present in Italy. , which consists of trade unions and may be locally accredited. These institutions organize courses in which it is possible to fulfill the obligation by obtaining a three-year qualification. Often this qualification has no real correspondence in terms of remuneration in the Italian world of work, because the title does not guarantee a clear job classification and young people after these paths still come as trainees or teachers into the world of work, effectively. extend for a few years their precariousness.
Private regional vocational training bodies are an extremely heterogeneous reality when observed at national level, as are the local productive worlds to which they turn for internships. In territories characterized by a world of work characterized by irregularities, undeclared work, anti-union behavior, illegal employers and where there is little control, the internship can be a non-formative and highly exploitative experience, as well as dangerous for young people: about 400 hours a year doing a student internship are actually in those jobs where in 2021 more than 3 people died a day.
In the public school system, the relationship between school and work is significantly indicated in the Pcto, which has a much shorter duration than the internship. Schools can discontinue PCTs by offering students a wide range of activities: from trade union or business experiences through courses in marketing and entrepreneurship, but also workshops with cultural or voluntary associations and pathways in museums or libraries. Much depends on the schools and the decisions of the teachers and on the orientation more or less depends on the management culture of each school manager.
Therefore, democracy and discussion areas about what the school should do and what it should count on are fundamental, and it would be essential for students and the whole community of people (educators, teachers, families) to take part in this discussion as well. . should be the only actor consulted by the Ministry of Education on education policy.
The boys who, like Lorenzo and Giuseppe, choose three-year vocational training courses for more than half, are men who have fled traditional education courses
Boys who, like Lorenzo and Giuseppe, choose 3 years of vocational training have different profiles than public school students: more than half have fled traditional education paths, driven out of school by dropouts and school failures ; more than half are males while females are concentrated in professional ways strongly characterized by female work, such as that of beauty operators. In the north, the proportion of immigrant children is high.
These young people at work have a different relationship from that of high schools, which often animates the movements: at work they do not seek a chance to fulfill themselves, but above all material maintenance, dignity, an alternative to precariousness experienced by undeclared or unqualified work.by their parents. These students are the waste of the state school of skills, entrepreneurship and human capital, and they are already paid for the results in terms of class selection. They have little to do with student mobilizations, they are already projecting into adulthood, they can not expand their youth by extending their education at the university: they become direct workers, precarious or unemployed at 18 years old. Their jobs will be the most dangerous, such as construction sites, mechanical factories, kitchens, logistics warehouses. Anyone who speaks of a school that has to form citizenship and transfer culture often forgets that students are not all the same and that each of these words is rejected differently by students’ social class.
The speeches, which speak of a school that must remain separate from work, are permeated by a humanistic culture that recognizes culture in literature, art, science, but struggles to recognize the contribution that the technical and professional cultures of farmers, workers and craftsmen have given an idea. of work which is industriousness, community, cooperation and rights of the workers-citizens. And it is also through this refusal that work in school today becomes the business culture, because it is a work that is seen from above by those who organize and dominate economic processes, not by those who, in an attempt to overcome alienation, the world on a daily basis.and social life not as it is, but as it should be inside and outside the workplace: a life adapted to the human being, the environment, the community. The student movements are right against the corporatization of the school, but the active pedagogy of the 20th century by Freinet, Dewey, Pestalozzi, Goodman and Kropotkin may lead us to a school capable of living a life of alienated and exploited work. distinguish and without composing again. intellectual work hierarchies and manual work in training. At this level, however, we also measure the difference between a public school governed by private interests and a school that serves the public interest, that is to say democratically and not entrusted to the invisible hand of the European market.