The risk is that in the next ten years Italy will end up losing one million students, going from 9 to 8 million. School dropout rates are one of the main emergencies of the Italian school system, and as such, is a priority that needs to be addressed in order to achieve a policy attentive to the future of the country.
The Minister for Education Marco Bussetti has confirmed this at Linkiesta: “One of the priorities of my appointment is the fight against school dropout rates. Schooling is the most powerful tool for changing the world. It is therefore important that each young person find the way to build their future in the path of learning”.
Among the objectives of the “Europe 2020” strategic plan, is, in fact, reducing the school dropout rate in the old continent to 10%. But Italy is still well above the European average of 10.7%, reaching 14.5% in 2018.
It is no coincidence, then, that Bussetti declared from the beginning of his mandate that the fight against academic dispersion will be one of his main government actions. “As a Ministry we are committed to guaranteeing every child and young person access to any form of education in any order and degree, in full compliance with the principle of equality enshrined in our Constitution”, Bussetti explains. “This means giving an answer to their primary need. This is why we made an intervention, for example, with an allocation of 50 million euros to combat child educational poverty in schools that are in areas at risk. But we can't stop here: we have to work a lot on guidance. Because every student has different attitudes and the education system’s job is to help them emerge”.
We intervened with an allocation of 50 million euros to combat child educational poverty in schools located in areas at risk. But we can't stop here: we have to work a lot on guidance
In the last Documento Economia e Finanza (DEF), which outlines the government’s priorities that will then be included in the budget law, two rules have been included aimed at combating school dropout and the enrichment of the educational offer. “We will deploy”, Bussetti assures, “all the necessary measures to obtain significant results. Investing in our young people means investing in the country's future”.
No cuts in education, the Minister for Education also points out. Bussetti reiterated that he had no intention of weakening the education system: “Our goal is to offer more time at school and more training for our children. We could for example increase the full-time offer in the South. Or, again, eliminate the so-called chicken coop classes”.
The minister’s idea is to stay the course of a country that has among the lowest educational expenses in Europe: 3.9% of GDP, against the average 5% of industrialized countries and 4.6% of the European Union. “We know that we must reverse a trend and give oxygen to the manifold educational realities of our country”, the minister concludes. “And we are already doing it: with the budget and with a series of other important measures we are allocating resources to schools, universities and research institutions, so that they can work at their best.
But funding alone is not enough: we need a strategic plan that also involves other areas of our society to ensure that knowledge can effectively and increasingly be the engine of our country's development”. School and guidance are the ingredients to focus on.