Stop failing in high school? It may be an idea, but a system reform is needed

The remarks of Giorgia Meloni, who calls for the elimination of failures in high school, are creating discussion, a sign that the leader of the Brothers of Italy has touched on an important topic.
We have gathered the views of some well-known experts in the world of education.

According to Stefano Stefanel, headmaster at the high school “Marinelli” in Udine “The basic idea is correct, but in the current school organization inapplicable, as it would only lead to promotion to the next class or even graduating students with huge gaps, lack of participation or with very negative school situations.”
“The principle – adds the leader – that’s right: what’s the point of repeating a school year even in subjects where the trend is positive? “
“The solution is there –
Stefanel explains – and could consist of taking the VET system (Business, Education and Training), which characterizes technical and professional education in most of Europe, and which is based on the choice of the student, who becomes independent and learns to choose their own scholastic journeys as a model “.
The Udine boss concludes: “I agree that diplomas should include acquired skills as well as disciplinary levels. But to do this, the legal value of the qualification must decrease to eliminate diplomas and the uniformity of diplomas obtained with different education and training results.

Mario Maviglia, former technical manager and study advisor in Brescia, raises important pedagogical questions: “High school evaluation has historically been given a classification function, which has often become discriminatory. In fact, its formative value is only slightly known in this school class, and it therefore does not act as a regulator of the teaching-learning process. More than monitoring and supporting students in their learning pathways, evaluation produces a perverse mechanism by which to study to pass the verification tests.
So what should be done to correct this distortion?
Removal of votes – says Maviglia – it could undermine this model, but if we do not simultaneously act in the implementation of an active teaching that sees effective involvement of students in their learning process, the operation risks becoming a kind of composition that leaves the problems I mentioned remain unchanged ”.

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Aluisi Tosolini, principal of Bertolucci High School in Parmais based on his experience and tells: “Many of our schools work with different European countries where rejection does not exist: when they visit us, they are enthusiastic about our school organization and its rigidity. I fundamentally and pedagogically agree with the idea of ​​eliminating and overcoming rejection, but I am also aware that this must necessarily involve a different structuring of the Italian school that really focuses on the pupil, his interests, his growth paths and development. And then the times and spaces of the school organization ”.
But what stands in the way of this “revolution”?
“I’m almost sure – Tosolini answers – that the first objection to the elimination of failure will be raised by those who fear seeing the staff fall: without fail, many colleges would lose many classes each year. And this will not be easily accepted by those whose primary goal is to create jobs for teachers ”.

“For me – argues instead Raffaele Iosa, former school superintendent – a radical choice should be made: a 5-year education in pedagogy, where the last two choose school form. We must stop with a system that enables those who have a law degree to be support teachers, albeit as an insecure one. “
“From the point of view of the” architecture “of the system – explains Iosa – I am thinking of a primary school of 10 years, 5 in primary school and 5 in the “middle” or whatever you want to call it, but with teachers with powerful pedagogical and didactic preparation, more as “teachers” than professors; I mean less disciplinary and more aware of the development of boys and girls. And then three years of flexible high school, with no failures, but heavily structured for workshops. But I realize that it is a dream, completely unattainable.

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