The Berlin war reform: how the Italian school came to the pro-European ideals

Today Luigi Berlinguer turns 90, a respectable achievement for a man of culture whose name remains enshrined in an attempt School reform quickly dismissed as the “reform of the cycles”, which nevertheless marked a turning point in the Italian school, the consequences of which can be recorded even today. As always in these cases, lights and shadows. It was he – Minister of Education of the first government of Romano Prodi (later Massimo D’Alema), from 1996 to 2000 – to build architecture and preconditions for a change that never took place in its substance, but which also served, for some of the bugs to imagine who they were. there for twenty years to corrode from the inside.

The Berlin war reform consisted of two key measures, around which the new school of our country should be articulated: the framework law of February 10, 2000, n. 30 op reordering of cycles and higher education, the law 10 December 1997, n. 425 the change ofFinal exam. The DM implementation regulation is then withdrawn by the new minister Letizia Moratti when Silvio Berlusconi revived the election in 2001. In 2003, Moratti will always abolish the two and replace them with his reform, that of the Three I.

Back to the Berlin reform, about the division between primary, middle and high school, in favor of an articulation through “cycles”: seven years of primary or basic cycle (from 6 to 13 years) and five of the secondary cycle (from 13 to 18), with thecompulsory education set at 15 years, i.e. at the end of the second year of the secondary school cycle. For those who do not complete their studies until maturity, vocational training is organized and managed by the regions, up to the age of majority. Basically, the traditional school path is compressed into two school orders and shortened by one year; maturity remains at 18 years, then the university for those who want and can. In practice, primary school and middle school combined and reduced from 8 to 7 years, higher divided into two two-year courses, the first with a lot of common learning, the second more specific in a final year with maturity at the end of the course.

The third important leg of the reform is that of the university with the establishment of the “points grade“(3 years for the short plus 2 years for the master); it was presented in 2000 by the then minister Zecchino, but in full coherence with Berlinguer, who worked on it during the time when he was both minister of education and of the university. D ‘Reform of the university it went on, which of the school remains at stake, overcome and annulled by the two Moratti laws, on March 28, 2003, n. 53 and 4 November 2005, n. 230, which are still in effect today with the corrections made by Minister Gelmini at the time, that of the tunnel between Switzerland and Abruzzo, where the neutrinos pass.

The Berlin war reform was really the daughter of the feeling and culture of the time: Italy was in the middle of pro-European impulses generated by the then future introduction of the Euro. School reform was presented as the necessary tool to modernize society, introducing concepts and issues neoliberal thinking rampant, such as the incorporation of knowledge (training credits, school/work…, the competitive assessment of teachers), the dependence of teaching choices on the needs of industry, the balance between state and equal schools , both qualified as public schools and placed on the same floor.

The Fable of “Merit” it took the place of the values ​​of integration, subsidiarity, didactic and educational experiments as a tool to grow schools and society. As if the school would reposition itself by cutting off the extremes: for the poorest a little support in a school without experiments, for the rich the private school system that became “equal”, equal to the state one. The lexicon has also changed to denote what the school should become. For example, the “principles” (the one who presides is assumed to be a community of thinkers) and the “didactic directors” (who direct the teachers) become “School leaders“(Bassanini 2000 reform), framed in the executive roles of the state and endowed with powers and tools, which even now struggle with the management and care of a school community.

Yes, Europe. It seems then the beginning of a real one new era: the single European currency would have served as a tax base for the new EU, opening a season of reforms that, if not for the realization of the United States of Europe, would certainly have led to greater integration between countries and people. There was a lot of talk about the only European army and thepolitical integration it really seems to be around the corner, along with EU enlargement, which Prodi, EU Commission President from 1999 to 2004, worked hard on. The Berlin war reform was also presented as a necessary adjustment of the educational institution to the prevailing systems in the EU, from the age of access to universities to the formalization of another middle school, which many consider asweakest link of the Italian school system.

They were also the times offederalist euphoria and of the need to put order in the system of autonomy created by the reform of Title V of the Constitution (2001), desired and promoted by the center-left, which was under the illusion, ground under its feet removed from the league. The school was also included in the group of institutions to which the autonomy was recognized, which with its Pof (Training Offer Plans), then Ptof with the addition of territoriality, “allows the school service flexibility, diversification, efficiency and effectiveness to become and achieve integration in the better use of resources and structures, also through the introduction and dissemination of innovative technologies “(Miur). So Art. 21 of the Bassanini (the same law through which the regions of the center and north today an extension of the areas of exclusive regional competence demand) framing the issue of school autonomy, establishing its limits and identifying the bodies involved, specifying their competences.

Many of these aspects will in the end be an organic part of the Berlinguer reform, for example the regional competence exclusively in the field of professional training – delegated to private agencies to those of trade union or confindustrial emanation – and ways of starting work, with the usual consequent of scandals and robbery, catastrophic bankruptcy, mind courses.

Before Moratti dealt with the dismantling of the Berlin war reform, the positive appreciations they were connected to the idea of ​​a new school that knew how to synthesize a plural approach, interact with society and become the engine of initiative and educational planning with local institutions, especially the municipalities. The organizational and cultural consistency of schools and businesses was questioned in the creation of alternating school/work paths that were not only Exploitation and history has confirmed it. The idea that the obligation to be increased to 18 years was appreciated (without clearly writing if it was mandatory), much less the renunciation of the combination of structural reform with a thorough review of programsthe tools available for students in difficulty, the updating of teachers, their evaluation and improvement.

Thosecorporatization of an institution who gave the best of himself, when cooperation was the cornerstone, replaced by a Competition consists of brands, judgments and profiles that evaluated the test and not the way; the legalization of technical institutions was opposed, an unreasonable attack on one of the pivotal schools of the Italian school system. Vocational training, which was provided to private individuals and the training offices linked to intermediaries, was also much discussed at the time: the state withdrew from the direct management of a sector that focused on most disadvantaged population and which at the same time would have been the cornerstone of the boom in Italian industry, preparing the operational figures that contributed decisively to the work. The memory of all this and much more is almost lost in this whirlwind of missed reforms, said and canceled, rebuilt and often consists of Cuts disguised as innovation.

The name of Luigi Berlinguer in the school world is inextricably linked to the great discussion about what the education system should become, which accompanied the process of the law; perhaps the last great choral reflection before Triumph of Berlusconi and of the complicated apathy that accompanied his brilliance, right as well as left. A reflection that made it clear how strong the massive bombardment of Berlusconi’s troops had been. Able, even in this important intersection, to dictate new system of values dell’Italietta del 2000, so indistinguishable that it is good for the right and for the left.

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