Prevention is better than healing • After prosperity

The social inequalities that are developing in the school environment are a central issue for our social system, today and in the future.

Two pieces of evidence, in particular, allow us to well understand why it is. The first concerns the low student skills: Italian children are below the OECD average at the basic levels of Italian and science, while at European level we have not yet managed to bring the incidence of young people below 15%, which is not enough results in reading, mathematics and achieve science. The second refers to high failure and failure ratesthe highest in Europe after Spain, Malta and Romania.

In both cases, it is the students who come from the most disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, who have the worst academic results and who drop out of school more easily. This makes us understand this the Italian school is not effective in acting as a vehicle for social mobility, on the contrary, it crystallizes the existing inequalities. Finding ways to ensure that the education system as a whole addresses this problem therefore becomes a priority.

A research to understand how one intervenes

In this regard, recently, Percorsi the second well-being, commissioned by ActionAid Italia, the report “Combating pedagogical inequalities: Student participation and school orientation“. The idea behind the research is to focus two strategic areas of intervention to promote the demarcation of inequalities in education.

The first refers to the Student participation, is understood both as the general participation of the student in activities proposed by the school (for example with a more participatory learning method) and as the ability of the students to act in the governance of the institution. The second focuses instead onSchool orientationthat is, the process of acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to make training and career choices throughout life.

The analysis, for both areas, was carried out in two phases: by one Office, we then went and playedempirical analysis the various topics involved that are of interest to the topic.

Participation: Dialogue with students and actors

As for the in-depth study on student participation, desk research has focused mainly onLiterature Analysiswhich is very broad in topic and based on some fundamental concepts: lo Student engagementthus the participation of children in the school world, and the Student voice, which means recognizing the role of pupils as role models in the school environment. Reinforcing these two aspects can actually help combat early school leaving. In addition, aAnalysis of Main page quantitative research on student participation in Italy in a‘Documentary analysis of the legislation about the instruments of participation in school governance in Italy.

Research forests are then followed two focus groups who as protagonists have seen students involved in ActionAid Italia projects and come from schools across the country, along with some representatives from Unione degli Studenti. The first focus group on Participation tools within the school (at class and school level) an extern (for example the provincial council) defined by current legislation. The second one examined the opinion of the students Participatory instruments that arise both as a result of the student initiative and placed within the realm of self-organization (such as open lists and joint commissions), both from schools related to the territory in the implementation of the principle of subsidiarity through education pacts, a particular political instrument that we have often talked about in our #Educational Inegalities series.

Orientation: Learning from best practices

On the other hand, in the study of pedagogical leadership, desk research has focused primarily onAnalysis of European documentation concerning lifelong orientation and confrontation of two successful cases: den Finland an den Spain. In the Finnish education system, there is a specific number of hours per year for guidance throughout the school, from primary school to high school; in Spain, on the other hand, within the schools, there is a figure explicitly trained and dedicated to leadership.

The analysis is then followed by the analysis of Italian orientation system and its critical topics. In the Italian context, two cases of best practice, which we reviewed through three in-depth interviews. The first is “Metropolitan Orientation”, a project carried out by the Metropolitan City of Bologna to build a territorial guidance system. The second case study is that of AFOL Milan Subwaya body active in the field of pedagogical and vocational guidance.

During the preliminary research for the preparation of the report, some were also carried out Interviews with industry expertssuch as Andrea Gavosto, Director of the Agnelli Foundation, to whom we were asked to tell us about the risks and opportunities that come from the PNRR for the school, and Pasquale Bonasora, President of Labsus, who helped us to define the Community Education Pact in the definition. broadest framework of cooperation agreements.

What results are coming out of the report?

The analysis made in the report confirms this Both participation and leadership are valid tools for combating inequalities among young people.. For both of these tools, research has made it possible to identify some useful indications for their improvement. In terms of participation, it is essential to rebalance the student component in school governing bodies, to make students aware of their ability to act through adequate education and to ensure permanent places for aggregation and comparison for children. The promotion of participatory teaching is also of great importance, especially in which students teach their classmates something (as happens with co-management, for instance). To improve orientation, it is necessary instead to make an integral part of the whole school path, to create an integrated territorial system both outside and inside the school, in which specially trained figures (teachers or committed professionals) are involved.

Because it is a subject that is “matter”

The work done for ActionAid on educational inequalities fits in In-depth course on the young which has been pursuing Secondo Well for some time.

Since 2014, we have been dealing with the topic with you thematic focus on the initiatives promoted by the Youth Guarantee and the National Youth Guarantee Program, and we have recently Relationship “A guarantee for NEETs. Youth guarantee in four Italian regions: Calabria, Lombardy, Puglia, Piedmont. We are currently two series of insights. #Education Inequalities, which we talked about above, was born thanks to this report. Then there is #OverLaDad, the series in which we ask ourselves about the future of digital education above and outside the pandemic emergency. Our interest in the subject of youth has also been summed up this year Newsletter dedicated to the European Year of Youthin which we talk about the main challenges and what tools young people have at their disposal to address them.

But why is it so important to be interested in this topic? Only if the new generations are adequately prepared to meet the many challenges facing the country and – from our observatory – its social system, will we have the opportunity to develop a more just and inclusive society. In other words, developing forms of social intervention that today respond to the needs of the young means investing in future well-being, which benefits the whole society.

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