Back to class, distance learning and hiring. These are the themes of the interview with the head of the Italian Left school, Giuseppe Buondonno.
Dad risk for September, how can it be avoided?
It seems disconcerting to me that, for the third consecutive school year, you have to ask a question like the one you just asked me; and I am convinced that you thought so too in doing it. Except in the spring of last year (when it was inevitable) Dad had to be avoided. Because it causes enormous human and educational damage; you didn’t need the Invalsi test to understand it, you just had to ask the teachers. It is not a natural disaster, it is the consequence of what was not done and had to be done; much earlier, in truth, but particularly in these 16 months. But if it happened for the third year, we would be faced with a very serious failure of the Republic in the face of the younger generations. We need much more hiring and less precariousness, we need smaller classes. We asked the Minister (with a parliamentary question signed by Fratoianni) to write to the Regional School Offices to prevent them from continuing to schedule large classes, definitively overcoming numerical criteria that were already absurd at the time, but decidedly crazy in the middle of the pandemic. It would be a good democratic rule for the government to answer questions from the opposition; also because (I say this with some bitter irony) given the Bulgarian majority, the opposition is not so numerous. Not answering seems to me a worrying sign of involution and arrogance, to which, among other things, it does not seem to me that the so-called “governance of the best” corresponds to a particular efficiency. There were times to plan with the Municipalities and Provinces the recovery of structures adjacent or close to schools, to ensure more suitable spaces (and it would have been, moreover, a collective use of the common good, that is, of a small part of the real estate assets public). It was necessary to work to strengthen public transport and eventually, where necessary, to plan staggered timetables with the schools; schools had to be equipped with forced air exchange systems, to limit the constant opening of the windows in the middle of winter. All things we have proposed. Some can still be done and must be expected, because returning to Dad is an inadmissible option.
On the quick tests what is your position. Tracking is important to avoid increasing cases.
Of course. But this was understood more than a year ago. It is important to track, but above all to further accelerate the vaccination of young people; all the indicators tell us. What the government cannot do, however, is to shift the responsibility for what it has not done onto the young people themselves. I am a convinced supporter of the importance of the vaccine (and therefore very critical of those who choose not to do it), but the responsibility for the results of a vaccination campaign falls anyway – also in terms of persuasion capacity, especially in the case of children – on who manages it. However, this is not the only problem. The crux is to suspend the patent on vaccines, to allow access to billions of human beings, because otherwise the variants will overwhelm us. In this context it was necessary and necessary to think (for the school and for future generations) about the next few years, decades, not the next months.
The government announces 112,000 hires, but in reality it will be far fewer. What do you propose on the recruitment issue?
Of course they will be less, they will not even cover the professorships, continuing to increase the precariousness; exactly the opposite of what was needed. The percentage of teachers who, in various regions, did not pass the extraordinary competition is staggering. And don’t say it depends on their abilities; I know some of them well, they are qualified, they have been teaching for years (and will continue to do so, but as precarious). The problem concerns the criteria and modalities of the competition. We had to take this opportunity to keep two urgent needs together: to overcome the structural precariousness and to hire much more, to make smaller classes. The opportunity had to be seized to overcome absurd situations, such as those of the Italian school in Bolzano, for example, where many teachers are not hired but cannot even participate in mobility. The number of support teachers had to be increased, while a large number of suitable teachers cannot participate in the courses (because the universities activate them in limited numbers). These great and small distortions had to be overcome, starting from an objective fact: expenditure on education, as well as for universities and research, must be increased, reversing the logic of these decades. Instead, the distortions are maintained or reproduced, in full resurgence of the pandemic. This is why we talk about Dad again, and it is unacceptable.
What are the three priorities for returning to class in September?
For the most part I have already answered; but if we want to summarize, I would say: hires, smaller classes, more suitable spaces. Let me, however, add two things. The first is called conflict, because we must fight with determination, to defend the public school, the real one, that of people, of the presence, that inclusive and attentive above all to the weakest, that is, that of the Constitution. The second is social justice: we are collecting thousands of signatures to tax large and very large assets and allocate resources to the future of the new generations, starting with access to the University, which is once again profoundly classist. The pandemic has revealed and aggravated the characteristics of a deeply unjust (and largely self-destructive) society. Starting with the school, we must reverse this state of affairs, and give substance to Article 3 of our Constitution.