According to data provided by the Ministry of Education, University and Reserach, Italian schools are attended by 830.000 foreign students. Half of this increasingly higher number of students was born in Italy and has never been to their country of origin. Here you can read some reception and integration information for students without Italian citizenship.
Not long ago the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Work and Social Policies, has given life to the National Observatory for the Integration of Foreign Students. In February 2014 the MIUR has furthermore published guidelines to the reception and integration of foreign students, addressed to all schools in order to favour communal and shared policies (read the Noi Mondo TV article Let’s see some of the suggested policies:
1. Distribution of foreign pupils in different classrooms
In the event of a high concentration of foreign students in a school the MIUR suggests an “even distribution of students”, also through the cooperation between schools and local institutions.
When a school (or another educational entity) receives an application form of a non-Italian minor will not be entitled to request the student and his parents’ residence permits. The lack of personal, health or education related documentation does not preclude in any way the minor’s enrolment.
The enrolment can also occur during the school year, if it is then that the student enters the country. The school will identify class and year to attend based on the studies attended in the home country and on on the minor’s age. Generally all students are enrolled in the class corresponding to their age group, unless the teacher advices otherwise.
3. Involving the families
The MIUR document gives great importance to the involvment of families of non-Italian students in order to understant their conditions and requirements and walk them through the integration process. Parents associations are also important. (See also: Parental participation and educational co-responsibility).
Given that for foreign students the same evaluation principles used for Italian students apply, non-Italian ones are given special special attention in terms of special programmes that take into account their personal history, culture and knowledge of the Italian language.
5. Choosing a secondary school
Surveys show how, when choosing the secondary school, non-Italian students, mainly opt for technical and professional education. In order to avoid “educational segregation” it is important that families are properly informed about all educational opportunities.
With this in mind, the MIUR has opened a portal called Io scelgo Io studio (I choose, I study) which provides information about schools. For students attending scuola media the site offers up-to-date information regarding secondary schools (licei, technical institutes, professional institutes, other work oriented schools), so that one can make an informed decision. For students attending secondary schools, the website offers useful information about universities, art academies, conservatories, upper technical institutes. It is also possible to ask for an expert’s help, proceed to online applications and look for the nearer schools to where one lives.
6. No more students falling behind
The 38,2% of foreign students attending an Italian school cannot keep up with their school mates. The older the student, the higher is the educational distress. Children without Italian citizenship in this condition are 16,3% at primary school, 44,1% at secondary school (scuola media) and reaches the 67% in the upper secondary school (scuola superiore). Italian children of the same age are the 24%. Contrasting this phoenomenon can be done by limiting the enrolment of foreign children in classes of lower age groups and also by investing in linguistic support with their Italian as this is important to avoid delays in all subjects.
7. Teaching Italian as a second language
Teaching Italian as a second language is a new educational task which does not quite compare to teaching the mother tongue or a foreign language, and that has developed a lot in the past few decades. The guidelines include specific indications about the several educational levels and learning phases which can be useful to all field operators.
For further information on the regulation it is possible to check the FEI funded ASGI guide on foreign minors and their right to education. The guide has been recently updated.
Happy 2014-2015 school year!
SOURCE: Migrant Integration Portal