We provide funds for the school to the teachers: Instead of talking about construction, the subject must be made attractive

by Mario Pomini *

The Minister of Education, Patrizio Bianchi, announced an extraordinary plan for school construction, at a cost of about two billion euros. Perhaps he inherited this passion from the then Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, which launched an ambitious program, rhetorically called “beautiful schools”. Then this project was lost along the way, both due to the reduction of funds and the administrative slowness. Now the Minister Pd we try again and most likely the result will be the same: a temporary media coverage and some cash flows.

One wonders if the problem with the Italian school really consists of buildings and infrastructures that would be poor and not very functional. Much has been done in recent years by virtuous municipalities and provinces, and there is probably much to be done. But the management of school buildings should – in my opinion – not be given much weight and be part of a proper general management of public assets with the consequences that can be thought of the quality of teaching. School construction can be a problem that can be solved with intervention one time amount as in the seventies when he had a unique impulse, but the knots of the Italian school lie probably elsewhere. The two billion that the minister has dug up could be used better, again for the school. The answers can be many, and we state one.

Also recently Confindustriathrough the vote of the chairman of Agnelli Fonden, insisted that one of the school’s structural problems is the lack of a real financial career for the teachers as well as for the administrative staff. He understood that too brunette, well-known girls of the public service slackers that the competitions in Pnrr are abandoned because a candidate is not interested in earning 1,700 euros a month, taking into account the various expenses to be incurred. If we then think that the starting salary for a graduate teacher is 1,450 eurosthe problem becomes even more acute.

How to then remedy this situation the poor attractiveness of the teaching profession? One solution could be to start treating teachers like any other professional (graduate). The legislation stipulates that these perform mandatory updating activities over a three-year period. Teachers, it is not known for what reason, are excluded from this obligation. Of course, to ask for something more, you must also have a financial incentive. Here is then that the two billion from Minister Bianchi could serve the purpose. It could be done in a very simple way and without accounting distortions to increase the teachers’ functional allowances according to the model from many other subject categories in the public service and at the same time make a didactic and professional refresher course compulsory. If you take that into account the teachers are about 800,000with the amount proposed by the minister, teachers can be offered an incentive of 3000-4000 euros per year.

A scandalous proposal? Certainly not because these incentives are quite common in the world of private companies and even more comprehensive. In this way, Series A teachers (those who update themselves) and Series B teachers (those who remain in their current position) would certainly be created, but the wind of neoliberalism is too strong to achieve more significant results. Maybe this business of professional update it could be on a voluntary basis as envisaged by the NRP, among others. It is a pity that the National Plan does not state the resources and starts everything from 2026, therefore a project without conviction.

The president of the Agnelli Foundation recently wrote a book to prove who the school is blocked. Dissertation acceptable in many respects, but largely inadequate. The school is not only blocked but wide against of a political class, as well as of a large part of public opinion, which does not yet regard teaching as an actual profession, but as a kind of privileged status (which in any case requires the attainment of a degree). This old populist ideology is dying hard. Strange that economists, when in the professorship, do nothing but improve human capital and the acquisition of knowledge, that is, education, while then, when sitting in government, like the economist Bianchi, act in a completely different way. Schools perfectly renovate and spotless though with unmotivated teachers, they are simply empty fortresses that are of little use.

* Associate Professor of Political Economy, Padua

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