what the student movement wants

on the cover, photo by Collettivo SKA Galileo

Boys * from the collectives of four Italian cities – Naples, Rome, Florence and Milan – tell us how school problems are very similar throughout Italy, and how structural reforms are needed. Will this mobilization last? Will the “new wave” be heard?

On February 20 in Rome, six hundred students from all over Italy participated in the “General States of the School”, the assembly that closed the mobilization and national protest on Friday 18 February. Across Italy, gatherings, occupations, processions and demonstrations continue to multiply.

Months after the first autumn mobilization, the protests that started in the schools of Florence and Rome turned into a general mobilization, which basically demands three reforms: those of the PCTO, the former school-work alternative, more funds for psychological Well- being, and infrastructure investments. But the protests of those born between 2004 and 2008 – now over Gen Z – are an expression of a deeper dissatisfaction. The climate crisis and the pandemic marked the imagination of the very young. The tragedies of Lorenzo Parelli and Giuseppe Lenoci, who died at the age of 18 and 16 during two internships, on the other hand, they increased their awareness of an inadequate school system. The U-Boot Interview students from four Italian cities – Naples, Rome, Florence and Milan – to understand what the generation of “Unheard” asks, as it was renamed by‘Expressed in the issue of Sunday, February 20th. Insecurity, leadership, precarious are the words most commonly used to describe their relationship with the future.

Photo: Edoardo Vezzi

Matilde is in the third year of the Pacinotti Archimede Science High School in Rome and is part of the collective ‘La Lupa’, which brings together different groups of Roman students. He just finished a call with the Lazio Regional School Office: “They tell us they do not have enough skills. We talked about buildings and places: a restructuring plan is being made for the center, schools and suburbs are on the side “For that reason, there are more and more enrollments in the schools of the center.” The national plan for recovery and resilience has allocated € 12.1 billion for school construction, from the construction of new schools to canteens and sports facilities. It is still too early to verify that the objectives – broadly and broadly – declared by the Pnrr project “Futura” fill the differences and structural shortcomings of school buildings, which were often fixed in the 1970s. For the moment, as we read on Site dedicated to Pnrr Education19,015 structural interventions were carried out – 2180 concerned the safety of buildings – out of the 30,040 authorized, but only 1% of the agreed amount was actually paid.

The shortage of trees is exacerbated by the pandemic, particularly in schools in central cities such as Florence, where Sara lives, attending the fourth grade of Galileo’s classical high school and being part of the collective SKA. “After two years of being a father, all the consequences of the reductions in education have been seen, which were not noticed before. Our school is small and is filled to the brim. We were forced to take up teaching. Now we are all at the Scientific Lycée Castelnuovo, on the other hand, on the last day of the occupation, part of the ceiling was lowered due to water infiltration. Education began with the Gelmini reform, under the leadership of Giulio Tremonti, who stole 8.5 billion in funds and 100,000 professors between 2008 and 2012. Italy was fourth last in the EU for investment in education relative to GDP.

In Florence, student mobilizations began with the strike of October 11, 2021, an event in which students and professors took to the streets together. “We have decided to create a gathering of all students. It was not just us, but also the boys of the Front Communist Youth (Fgc) and the Middle Students Network (Middle Students Network). Our struggle continues, even if we about some things never agreed upon.

The demands of the Florentine students were pushed into the world of work: “On November 20, we went with the Gkn to the streets, in the center of Florence, we decided to make a unique procession focused on unity. ” The world of work is a concern for the very young, no longer seen as an opportunity, but as a source of stress: “In the future, I imagine myself insecure and without a job. The last generations knew they would find it. We have the lead in front of us, “Matilde replied. Sara from Florence also sees no alternative for the future:” One of our slogans was ‘Let’s stand up for the future’ because we have no security. I finish high school and go to university: and then? I work as a waiter and I get paid black, or I’m going to work at Pitti Uomo and I’m being exploited anyway. There are no prospects, we grew up that way. “

Photo: Powered by Phlegraean Student Coordination

The Coordination of Phlegraean students of Naples, would instead “create a broader discourse that involves workers and the unemployed and connects the demands.” Matteo, who is in the fourth grade of Labriola High School, confirms the opposition to the PCTO, expressed by all other collectives: “I can not speak for all students, but my experience is based on the training of the digital license. turned out to be rather useless and could have been organized differently because I did not choose anything. Orientation (PCTO) “. The Pcto provides 210 hours for vocational institutions, instead of the previous 400, 150 for technical institutions and 90 for high schools.

In Florence, the occupation waves involved the high schools of Calamandrei, Pascoli, Rodolico, Capponi, Michelangelo, Alberti, Peano, Gramsci and Galileo. There were high schools across Italy that expressed anger over the death of Lorenzo Parelli, who died on January 21 on his last day of teaching from the Vocational Training Center (Cfp), and of Giuseppe Lenoci, who died in a road accident during an accident ass. Stage. Lenoci also participated in a Cfp, the Artigianelli Vocational Training Center in Fermo. Most of the occupations were done in high school; the technical or vocational institutes do not seem to have been protagonists of the protest season, even though the school-job change affected them directly. “There are many technical institutions or schools in the suburbs where collectives have never been. So they do not know how it can be done or they do not know what it can be done,” explains Martina and Alessandro, del Red Shadows Collective by Leonardo Da Vinci High School of Science in Milan.

The collective is after the student union Unione degli Studenten (Uds), and worked together with Parini Lycée to run WhatAapp the examination of mental and psychological health: “500 responded, about half of the subscribers. Students feel that teachers are far away, there is a lack of some kind of preparation to manage the psychological protection of students. A girl in the questionnaire has the metaphor of “Deep filled” used to talk about the relationship with the teachers. In our opinion, teachers should do a pedagogical training, how to treat the student humanely. ” One of the results of the questionnaire states that “60% of students think they can not count on the help of teachers in times of difficulty.” At the end of the survey, members of the collective hung the results in the hallways and on the site of the school: “They were separated from the teachers. We do not understand why, just because we ask for more listening? “

Photo: Powered by the Carducci Collective

In Milan, many collectives have put the issue of mental health at the forefront of their demands. Protecting mental health is a cornerstone of national mobilization, which is felt in other cities as well: “I would like to go to school in peace and without fear. I had to ask questions with my eyes closed because we were afraid he would copy himself. These are difficult situations that will put pressure on you “, says Arianna from Florence. Psychological breakdown is experienced in the same way even by university studentsas evidenced by the 75% increase in requests for psychological help at the State University of Milan.

At present, there is no comprehensive reform plan to counteract the depletion of the human and educational offer of the Italian school, if we exclude the specific interventions established with the funds of the NRP. Following the demands formalized by the general states of the school, the Minister of Education Patrizio Bianchi declared that he was “ready to think about the reform of the school”, but made it clear that the PCTO would not be called into question. “Security certainly needs to be more, but it is necessary to distinguish between training and orientation: the two tragedies that have occurred concern vocational training, the orientation that is being pursued by the schools is instead a piece of schooling. Let’s open the school building together, let’s think together, “said the Minister in an interview with Sky TG24 Monday, February 20th.

One piece of advice on how to think about a new pact for schools comes from Rome, Matilde said: “I imagine it is not just a place to digest and study. It should be a place for society and relationships, where you can also stay and study in the afternoon, participate in debates and assemblies, where topics such as politics or sex education are addressed. A film club at school, sports classes. Now, however, it risks becoming a place dedicated solely to competition, to being valued and dying in the workplace and alternating.

*** All names are fictitious

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