South weighs differences in school quality: “Unacceptably lower level of education”

“We wrote the same thing thirty years ago with Fabrizio Barca,” said the governor of the Bank of Italy with undisguised bitterness. Ignazio Visco, about the diseases of the South (difficult to die) and the possible means (just as difficult to implement). And in fact, the report on the North-South Gap, edited and presented yesterday by the economists from the institute and introduced by Visco (current Minister Mara Carfagna and his predecessor Peppe Provenzano), gives the clear feeling that time goes by in vain.

Worse, the scenario over the last fifteen years (at least until 2019) has worsened: inadequate public intervention, low emphasis on private initiative, contraction of the working-age population, organized crime and illegality, low growth, punished women. There is something to be depressed about, even though we are dealing with problems that are already commonly known. But it is hard not to agree with the governor that “due to the severity of the development delay in the South, economic and social inequalities arise and all national growth is slowed down”.

Supported by a rigorous and irrefutable methodological analysis, the report allows little to the experiments, even ongoing ones, on a different approach to the confrontation in the southern question (the south of the enlarged Mediterranean, for example, as evidenced by the recent meeting in Sorrento with Mattarella and Dragons). The central bank stands on the data, and the data explains why the hole has not changed, so to speak, in its basic structure. Education e.g. Visco speaks of the “most unfair of the gaps” in terms of training delays for young Southerners: “I have repeated this for decades. Lower levels of education can not be accepted in the south than in the rest of the country,” he confirms, and it is wrong that it is often observed even by specialists, not to believe in the Invalsi tests. On the contrary, they are fundamental to understanding the differences. The problem therefore lies not with the young people in the South or in their intellectual abilities, but in the organization of the education system ».

How do you get out of it, especially in a season that has not yet dealt with the pandemic and for well over 100 days also with the consequences of the war in Ukraine? The governor is in no doubt, the answer is PNRR. “The new project season, launched with the National Recovery and Resistance Plan, provides an extraordinary opportunity to tackle the lagging factors in our economy, certainly not mostly new, and to strengthen the country’s territorial cohesion, a permanent goal, and not just an aspiration of our united history. ”To do this, a complementary state is needed that will also help the growth of private companies in the south (“ Entrepreneurs must open up to innovation, otherwise it becomes useless to operate business “). and improve the general management, or the functions of the minimum state, based on the protection of legality and the function of justice.

PNRR is therefore like an option not to be wasted, but “is not the magic nozzle”, explains Minister Carfagna. And remember that these resources, at least 40% destined for the South, were foreseen “in a logic of national unity”, and that their use outlines a path that must necessarily be continued by the new government and the new legislature. That is, certain responsibilities must be fully shared by politics. “The tough, tough and competitive election campaign must not question, contradict or sabotage the PNRR commitments we have made with Europe, but above all with the citizens,” Carfagna said. Which also consistently defends the goals achieved in recent months to reduce the gap, primarily from the end of the historical expenditure criterion (primary schools, social workers, school buses for disabled children, the first operational areas of the turning point). The South Minister also reaffirms his approach to differentiated autonomy: “The powers of the regions can be differentiated, but not the rights of the citizens. Greater autonomy for the regions and significant levels of equal services for all are not possible without each other “.

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