“Let the school give new citizenship”


A demonstration for a new citizenship law in 2017

A demonstration for a new law on citizenship in 2017 – Ansa

Change the law on citizenship, no more “foreigners at home”. There are clear words from the Intercultural Group in the Italian Society for Education (Siped) about the reform of citizenship. The position will be taken during a meeting with Deputy Mayor Giuseppe Brescia, rapporteur for the proposal so far held by the Commission on Constitutional Affairs.

“We have been waiting for a reform that gives the right to citizenship to de facto Italian children and young people”. Massimiliano Fiorucci, the president of Siped, the scientific society that brings together educators from Italian universities, thus indicates that the reform is urgent. According to the Ministry of Education, there were 877 thousand children without Italian citizenship in the school year 2019-20, 10.3% of the school population. Their families come mainly from Europe (45.4%), then from Africa (26.1%) and Asia (20.5%). Their passports show anachronism: 65.4% of these foreign minors have been “here for a lifetime”, they were born in Italy. It is the photograph of a changing country: ten years earlier, only 26% of foreign students were born in Italy.

The current law is thirty years old: the one from 1992 updated the rules from 1912, but in reality the system remained in the Giolitti era, when Italy was an emigration country (and therefore it was necessary to keep the Italians’ “blood” that went abroad) and not immigration.

For Brescia, President of the Commission on Constitutional Affairs, “any attempt at reform so far has been strongly influenced by political exploitation”. The current proposal addresses the need for gradualism, is less advanced than the demands of civil society, but “the paradigm is changing”. introduces it ius scholae: a child born in Italy or arrived before the age of 12, with both parents regularly present, who for at least 5 years has participated in one or more school cycles in Italian schools, can apply for citizenship.

For educators, it is ius scholae it is a choice of trust, not only towards young people building their future here, but towards teachers. It is the school – and not the blood – that is the main agent for identity building.

Milena Santerini from Cattolica in Milan, coordinator of the Intercultura Group, he explains: “Achieving citizenship is an important element of integration, and it is by going to school that citizens’ skills can be exercised. As many experiences at the psycho-pedagogical level show, there is a real “citizenship benefit” for children and for the society that welcomes them. A recent Dutch research from 2021 shows that students who acquire citizenship are much more likely to follow successful paths ». On the contrary – recalls the second coordinator of the Intercultura Group Agostino Portera from the University of Verona – not having citizenship is associated with a greater risk of dropping out of school and social exclusion. «Young people – Santerini continues – perceive citizenship as a protection against the precariousness of the law and a condition for full and effective participation. Children who feel more included in society have a higher level of motivation ».

Maurizio Ambrosini from the University of Milan emphasizes how the lack of citizenship in the field of employment causes discrimination and adds: ‘Lo ius scholae it was introduced in Greece just during the economic crisis: brave reforms can be made that are able to look ahead, even in difficult times “.

In Italy, however, the subject has often been postponed “to other priorities”: at the end of May, the group leaders in the Chamber will have to decide whether to bring the text now before the Commission to court. Also yesterday was another day of obstruction. Meanwhile, among the young “made in Italy” there are those who grow up dreaming of becoming a police commissioner or flight pilot, but then discover that it is not possible because they have lost their residence for a few months and therefore not get citizenship. Who is the only one in the class who does not travel abroad or who in various sports would go in the blue jersey for profit and instead have to watch the World Cup on TV because he is a “foreigner at home”.

IN PARLIAMENT: The proposed change came to a standstill. Collision over the filibuster

It’s definitely not coming to the Chamber this month, since the group leaders’ conference a few weeks ago did not plan it for May. Therefore, the Montecitorio Assembly will not look at the bill Ius Scholae on their tables before June, when the administrative elections and the referendum on justice take place. Also because the consideration of the text in the hall’s social committee, which adopted the basic text on 9 March, continues to slow down. Only a dozen of the approximately 500 amendments tabled so far have been voted on and rejected here. So far, the committee has kept to the fore-axis – consisting of M5s, Pd, Leu, Iv and Forza Italia (although the Azzurri intend to make some changes) – who have always voted for the basic text and oppose each other group, formed by the Lega and Fratelli d’Italia, which is clearly against the PDL. Against Carrroccio’s and Fdi’s obstructionism, various associations expressed themselves during the week, grouped in the citizenship table, asking Prime Minister Draghi and the majority with a letter request to vote Ius scholae at the end of the Legislative Assembly. In recent days, M5 leader Giuseppe Conte has also intervened in favor of the Citizenship Act: “To vote against Ius scholae it is a barbaric act ”.

The appeal to the government: “We are ready and you?”

“In Italy, hundreds of thousands of people born in the national territory, or who arrived at a very young age, still do not have Italian citizenship. Today there is a possibility: a citizenship law is ready, which Parliament can already vote on,” said campaign promoters. We are ready, are you? ” planned in Parliament and voted on by the end of the Legislative Assembly “. In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, and to the political forces that make up the government willing to vote on the law, the initiators stress that” the figures in Parliament there is: it is clear that we have reached the moment of truth “. Among the first signatories of the campaign: Edith Bruck, Oliviero Toscani, Paolo Fresu, Gad Lerner, Luigi Manconi, Igiaba Scego, Corrado Augias, Maurizio Ambrosini, Valerio Carocci, Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio, Small Orchestra of Tor Pignattara, Roberto Zaccaria, Mohammed Zaccaria Keita, Giacomo Marramao.

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