<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Documento sin título

Migració i el model mediterrani: quines conseqüències té en l’educació?

Dra. Giovanna Campani, Universitat de Florència (Itàlia)

migration and mediterranean model: which consequences on education ?

Giovanna Campani


Education policies and practices for immigrant minorities are influenced by the general context: migratory patterns; State migratory policies; State and local integration policies; State approach towards multiculturalism; civil society attitude in front of immigration; immigrant communities development. This paper deals with the impact of the specific Southern European model of migration, which has been defined in the sociological literature “Mediterranean model”, on the migratory policies that are followed by the Mediterranean countries (in the frame of the European Union) and local practices on education for immigrant children and the so called “second generation”. In order to develop this topic, different issues must be analyzed: the general Southern European migratory context; national migratory and integration policies with a special attention to Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal; education policies for minorities; reception system and programs for immigrants'children and immigrant adults. Considering the short time I have been given, I will just focus the main points, indicating the existing problems and suggesting issues and solutions, at least from the educational point of view. I will then speak of the Italian case, which can be easily compared to the Spanish one, in an euristic way.

I will insist as well on the fact that Italy and Spain are countries characterized by great internal cultural and linguistic diversity, because of regional differences and because of the presence of historical minorities, speaking languages that are different from the national languages, Italian or Spanish. Neverthelesss, Italy and Spain have experienced ethno-cultural diversity due to immigration only since the late seventies of the XXth century, around twenty-five years ago. How can these two aspects of cultural diversity be taken into account in the construction of an education model focusing cultural difference and interculturalism?

In a relatively short time Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal have become immigration country. Italy has around 2.600.000 foreign residents, 4,5% of the total population and 6% of the active population (3.000.000 with the irregular migrants), Greece has around 1.000.000 immigrants that represent the 10% of the population. In Spain, some estimations speak of four millions immigrants. All these countries have experienced low birth rates for the natives, which would have had as a consequence a reduced number of pupils, without the arrival of immigrant children. In 2004, 310.000 children of foreign origin have entered the Italian schools, corresponding to the 3,5% of the school population.

The arrivals of foreign children in the Southern European schools date back to the early nineties. In the first period of immigration, as it is the case for the beginning of a migratory cicle, children were not numerous: their presence was limited to some communities (Chinese, Maroccans). The growth of foreign children number has been, however, very rapid, in the last years: for example, in Italy, foreign children in the school system have been growing of fifty thousand each year, in the last years.

In a short time, new immigration countries have been forced to implement integration policies for this new population and education programs for their children. These integration policies have been developed in a context of restrictive migratory policies (at European Union level), and ambiguous or even contradictory discourses about multiculturalism, interculturalism, national and European identity. Moreover, the post 11 th september fight against terrorism has deeply influenced the debate on cultural difference, with a shift towards clash of civilization and muslimphobic discourses, which have been used by the populist political forces in order to get consensus and votes. In Southern European countries, integration policies have to take into account as well the high presence of an irregular migration (less important in countries as France, Sweden, Germany), the precarious presence of immigrants in niches of the labour market, the role of the informal economy in the absorption of immigrants, the variety of the countries of origin of the immigrants (of the languages, cultural traditions, etc...).

In the paper, we will try to analyze the possible consequences of this complexity, which can be resumed in the notion of “Mediterranean model”, in the education processes of immigrant children. We will then look at the Italian example that can be idealtypic and useful for the Spanish case as well. It is difficult to give indications for the future perspective of integration of immigrant minorities. The lack of researches on the so-called “second generation” of immigrants in the Southern European countries is just one of the problems that make it difficult to evaluate the level of integration of immigrants in these countries.


1. The Mediterranean model

Migration towards Southern Europe has been described by sociologists like Enrico Pugliese (1992) and geographers like Russel King (1999) as the “Mediterranean model” of immigration, in order to synthetize the specific characters of the phenomena .

In this model, there is a complex articulation between push-factors and pull factors: “ The basic concept was that migrants were attracted by a labour demand which the local workforce could not satisfy and that it was a migration caused by a labour demand doesn't function completely. The pushing effect exerted by the countries of origin cannot be neglected ” (Pugliese and Macioti 1993).

I n fact, migratory flows increase, not only because of labour demand family reunification reasons, in the same way as it happened in Northern Europe between the ‘70s and ‘80s. New political conflicts, disastrous conditions of Africa, transition in Eastern Europe, and, more in general globalization push many people to emigrate. Southern Europe, for its geographic position, represents a crossroads for many of them.

In this model, the beginning of migration has a spontaneous character: it is not directed or managed by the national or local authorities . On the contrary, legislation is absent or vague. Migratory policies are introduced slowly and they do not have a systematic character: they tend to respond to urgent problems and present a character of “urgence”” emergency”. The absence of migratory policies is a factor which produces illegal migration, a sort of “factory of illegalism”. States interveene, with ad hoc measures, amnesties and laws, only when the presence of immigrants cannot be any longer ignored, because of its demographic, economic and social weight. In absence of adequate policies to manage the new flows, regularisations or amnesties to give a legal status to illegal immigration have all taken place in Southern European countries.

Italy has organized an amnesty or regularisation ( sanatoria ) for illegal immigrants in average every five years (1986;1990;1996;1998;2003). The last one has been done by the right-wing government, which, in spite of a xenophobic discoursem had to do something for the irregular immigrants, especially for some categories of them. The new amnesty, done between 2002 and 2003, was reserved for only two categories of workers: “home help” and “home care” ( badanti , that is people helping or taking care of a family or an old person in a house), and unreported employed workers. The regularised workers have been 690.000 on 704.000 demandes. Spain, Greece and Portugal have organized amnesties as well.

It must be stressed that the majority of the immigrants living in Southern Europe have experienced, at a moment or another of their migratory trajectory, illegalism: the majority of the regular immigrants have become such because of the regularisations.

At the beginning of the flows, the industrial sector is not the main absorber of the immigrant labour force. ). Specific niches in the labour market represent “pull factors”. Immigrants find an insertion mainly in the informal economy, in specific spaces occupying places that natives had abandoned or creating their own new jobs (as is the case of street-vendors) The main occupational areas which attract foreign immigrants are in the tertiary sector (peddling, domestic work, small cleaning enterprises, catering, ...) and in the primary sector -fisheries and some agricultural activities. These jobs are predominantly in the informal economy, which represents a particularly large sector in Italy (around 30% of the national product, according to some estimations) (Reyneri, l99l, Venturini, l989). The importance of informal labour market creates a vicious situation where immigrants are needed by the labour market and over-exploited by employers. This represents another character of the Mediterranean model.

The gender specificity is also an important factor in the distribution of immigrants in the labour market and in the division in all-male and all-female ethnic groups: in national groups, who are mainly working in domestic services, the percentage of women is around 70%, while in groups, who are mainly street-vendors, or in construction work, male are around 90%.

Another character of the “Mediterranean model” is the high diversification of the ethnic and national groups arriving in the receiving contry. This is particularly important in Italy, where the number of nationalities of the foreigner residents amounts to more than 150 (Caritas, 2003). According to the last data of the ISTAT (Italian Institute of Statistics), the nationalities that were represented in 2002-2003 in the Italian schools were 189 (to give an idea, the States of the World are 195...). No national group counts more than 250.000 people. Immigrants come from more than 150 different countries! According to the data of the Ministry of Education, in the Italian schools are represented 191 nationalities and at least 80 languages (Vedovelli e Villarini, 2001, MIUR, 2004, Luatti, 2004)! This makes extremely difficult to organise, for example, courses in the languages of origin of the immigrant pupils.

The diversification in various nationalities characterizes as well Spain, and, in less measure Greece and Portugal. The changes in the most numerous nationalities have followed the evolution of the immigration process. In Italy at the beginning of 80's the most representative nationalities were composed by immigrants from Eritrea, Somalia, Cape Vert, Philippines, Tunisia; in the nineties, the most important nationalities have been Morocco, Albania, Romania, Philippines. According to the last estimations of CARITAS, in September 2004, the majority of the immigrants come from Eastern Europe: the most important group is today represented by Rumanians (240.000), followed by Albanians (227.000) and by Maroccans (224.000). These are the three most important nationalities, followed by 121.000 Ukrainians. In Spain, Maroccans and Africans have been followed by Latin Americans and by Eatsern Europeans. In Greece, immigrants and refugees from the Middle East have been followed by flows from the Balkans, Albanians, Bulgarians, Rumanians. In Portugal, post-colonial immigration from the PALOP has been followed by immigrants from Eastern Europe, especially Ukrania.


2. Immigration as a structural phenomenon in Southern Europe

The growing importance of the Eastern Europeans (mainly Albanians, Moldovans, Rumanians, and Ukrainians) has characterized migratory flows towards Southern Europe in the last ten-fifteen years. In the meantime, some national groups, which have been among the first to arrive to Southern Europe, have settled down and formed communities; some groups have started to decrease in number, as, for example, the Filipinos who arrived in Italy, Spain and Greece already in the early eighties.

It can be said that, until the late nineties, these specific characters of migration delayed the communities formation for the migrants, who, forced to precarity and flexibility, could not easily foresee a stable environment and family reunification. This had of course an impact on the presence of children and the demand for specific education measures. This means that, in the first phase, children of immigrants in the schools of the Mediterranean countries were relatively few: this situation allowed at the same time, the development of discourses on intercultural education among thje teachers and the absence of clear national and local policies for the integration (systematic courses of national languages, courses of language and culture of origin, systematic teachers'training) that had been implemented in Northern Europe.

The ideal-typical Mediterranean model has however slowly changed: in a first phase, it was noit clear what immigration would have become in countries that somehow refused of considering themselves immigration countries (as Germany had done in the sixties and seventies). Now, after all the amnesties and the constant arrival of immigrants, it is clear that immigration has become a structural factor in the Southern European countries. A new phase has started, in which immigration has become a structural factor in the Southern European economies and, more in general, in the Southern European societies, where the demographic rechange is guaranteed by the immigrants' presence .

The Mediterranean model represents the structural characters of immigration towards Southern Europe. It seems however, that, in spite of its relatively short history, immigration into Southern Europe has already passed through different phases or periods, which vary according to the origin and the characteristics of the migrants, the employment sectors that abdorb them, the migratory policies put in place by authorities, and the attitudes and perceptions of the societies. All these factors are extremely important to understand education policies for immigrant children, as well as the support that the society can offer to immigrants for the organisation of cultural activities and language courses.

In the case of Italy, from the nineties onwards, because of the the demographic changes taking place (aging population, low birth rate, etc...) , immigrant labour force is not only needed by the informal economy: according to the opinion of the experts, the trade-unionists and the employers, nowadays, without foreign immigrants, all Italian economy would be paralyzed. Construction work, agriculture, industries in the North-West and in the rich North-East part of the peninsula, services to persons (for the care of children and, more and more, for the care of elderly people), have a crucial need of immigrant labour force. The 2.600.000 foreigners, who are regularly resident in Italy, represent around 6% of the active population and have a lower rate of unemployment than the Italians (4% instead of 8%).

However the labour insertion of the immigrants is not homogeneous: there is a great difference among immigrants who live in the cities and in rural areas. For example, in Italy, immigrants who live in the South keep finding jobs, especially in the agricultural field, mostly seasonable, while those who choose to live in the Centre-North is possible to work in the construction work and in the industrial field. Consequently, the South is mainly a transit area, while the Centre and the North are areas of settlement. There are there some similiarities with the Spanish case. The co-presence of precarious immigrants and of settled communities.

Moreover, there is still an ethnic specialisation: some ethnic groups tend to work more in some sectors than in others. There is a big difference between the condition of men and the one of women, who are about half of the immigrant population. Women are mainly needed for services to private persons. For them there is fast no social and professional mobility. The greatest number of female immigrants, indeed, keep to find a job only in the area of people caring. On the contrary, men, who begin the migratory trajectory working in precarious jobs may end up in more stable and profitable jobs, moving from one area of the country to the other and from one sector to the other.

The settlement of the communities has provoked a growth of foreign children presence has been extremely rapid, particularly in the last years. “ The character of the Italian model is that, in comparison with other European countries of longer multicultural tradition, the change has been extremely rapid. This can be seen very well, considering the data of the small towns, which, up to ten years ago, had never had significant numbers of foreign pupils .” (MIUR, September 2004)

In twenty years, from the school year 1983-84 to the school year 2003-2004, the number of foreign students in different degrees and levels of the school system has increased of around 40 times, passing from 6.104 units to 282.683 foreign students, around 3,5% of the school population, according to the estimations of the Ministry of Education, which generally underestimate this presence.


3. Migratory and integration policies: an uncertain development

Differently from what happened in Northern European countries during the fifties and sixties, where immigration was partly planified by the governments and the companies, the arrival of immigrants in Southern Europe has taken place in absence of a clear legal frame, of State migratory policies and of a systematic reception system. In spite of the great differences among the four countries, we can say that migratory policies and reception systems were implemented after the immigration phenomenon was there and they were generally unable to manage the flows and to promote the integration that has mainly succeeded at local level. This is a very general statement: differences among the countries are important.

Spain is certainly the country that, since the early nineties has more developed both migratory and integration policies, Greece the one that has been the last to introduce migratory policies and has no integration policies, showing a real difficulty in accepting the fact of being a country of immigration. Portugal has showed a great “social tolerance” in front of immigration and of immigrants, but it has barely developed an integration policy.

We can say that there has been a general difficulty in accepting the new perspective of these countries as countries of migration by different social forces. Moreover, the problem of migration has become late a subject of national interest, and mainly to answer to the exploitation done by populist forces and not to promote immigration as a ressort. This, in turn, determines the low quality of the political debate as it had already happened in the Northern European countries in the post-war period (Hammar 1985).

Moreover, the unconfortable position of border countris of the European Union has certainly conditioned the position of the Southern European countries.

Looking at the Italian case, we can state that, after twenty years of Italian migratory policies, it is difficult to perceive the features of a continuous, systematic and coherent intervention policy not only in the field of education, but also in the general field of integration. So far, no Italian Law has been able to deal with an effective management of the migratory phenomenon and/or to promote integration policies. Integration is a process that takes place mainly at local level. General migratory policies and education policies for foreign children and adults, field where the preservation of languages and cultures of origin is a central part, have been interdipendent.

The legal and political “vacuum” in the eigthies, the hesitating implementation of an immigration and integration policy in the nineties, the progressive abandon of the multiculturalism ideology by scholars (including left-wing oriented), the anti-immigration populism of the Berlusconi government since 2001: all these factors have affected education policies for immigrant children and adults.

In this vaccum and incertainities, two aspects have become predominant in integration policies, affecting education: the role of the NGOs, which have taken the place of the State, and of integration policies carried out at the local level, sometimes different from one place to the other. Given the lack of reference to a common national policy on the matter, local agencies faced the emergency phase of reception, applying their own models of integration. This caused a wide variety of intervention policies and different levels of acknowledgement of immigrants' rights: such a variety was not due to the different quality and quantity of migration flows, but rather to the uneven efficiency of public administrations and to the presence of private social bodies whose action was stronger in some areas of the country (Zincone 1994).

By the way, the most important migratory and integration Law, the Law 40/1998 or Unified Act on Migration, Law Decree n. 286/98, institutionalized these competences and fully delegated to local agencies the implementation of integration programs.

We have to say as well that these local policies adapt more to the typology of immigration that we have described in the Mediterranean model.

This distinction between State policies and another one with local institutions, is extremely pertinent in the Italian context and affects deeply education. Let's quote the first Report on the integration of the immigrants in Italy (2000): “Facing the question of the immigrants, forces the school to review the models of education, coexistence, citizenship and pushes towards the adoption of a borderless horizon. If we try to understand the evolution of such a process, two lines appear: both show that institutions react and not act, while the true answers come from the civil society. The first line concerns the norms, the directives coming from the school administration, the school programs. The second line concerns the solidaristic approach, done by one thousand projects, one thousand initiatives, promoted by Towns, Provinces, informal networks among schools, immigrants'communities, NGOs, local authorities.

The dichotomy lasts in the time and it is quite difficult to perceive the manifest features of an intervention policy.” (Dutto, 2000, p. 245-246)

The problem is not the fact that policies are decentralized: the question is not the decentralisation, that is in any case positive, but the lack of a general “vision of the world” where to put the education processes of immigrant children: the old dichotomy between assimiliationism and multiculturalism, integration and respect of differences...education, coexistence, citizenship...but how? In which perspective?

In the attempt of finding a third way between multiculturalism and assimilation, Italy suggests the “Integrazione ragionevole” reasonable integration, proposed by the Unification Act in 1998 and based on two fundamental interconnected principles: integration as respect for the person's integrity and a low conflict-potential integration .

In order to promote integration, Law 40/98 or the Unified Act on Migration, Law Decree n. 286/98, gave a special attention to the schooling of foreign children. In article 36 of this Law, there is an explicit reference to the right to education of foreign children and to the preservation of the languages and cultures of origin:

“Art.36, (38?) comma 3:

School community receives linguistic and cultural differences as a value to establish as a basis for reciprocal respect, exchange among cultures and tolerance; in order to reach this goal, it promotes and encourages initiatives aimed at reception, protection of culture and language of origin and implementation of common intercultural activities .” We will come back to the importance of this article in the further analysis of education policies for foreign children.

Art.45 of the same Law establishes as well that foreign minors in compulsory education must attend the classroom corresponding to their anagraphic age. This article intended to fight against the common practice, to insert foreign children, who don't speak Italian, in the first year of the compulsory school, indipendently from their age.


4. The shift of the public opinion

However, these measures established by the Law have been implemented in a periodo when the public opinion had shifted towards a most hostile attitude, and even the ideology of multiculturalism was (and is) criticized.

Without supporting 100% multiculturalism policies, we can say that they have contributed to create societies where the cultural difference is recognized, respected and the conflicts are low. Refusing multiculturalism, as it is the case now in many European societies, without having a better model is a no way issue. Taking again tha case of Italy that is quite representative.

The problem is that, at the closing of the 1990's, in Italy migration is considered by all political forces as a potentially conflicting phenomenon. During the same period the economic world press for a further opening towards legal migration due to the continuous need for a foreign work force (Zincone 2001), but the slogan “ the economy wants them, society does not ” (Bolaffi 2001, Turco 2002) is used by the right-wing forces. In this context, the centre and left wing parties propose a model of migration policies swinging between a partial opening towards entry permits and a control system that is not even functional to the Italian labour market and encourages in practice the increase of illegal migration!

During the nineties, the Italian State has appeared as uncapable to face the immigration phenomenon. The implicit refusal by the government to consider immigration as a structural phenomenon; the growing arrivals from Eastern Europe and the Balkans after the fall of the Berlin wall and the break out of the war in Yugoslavia; the political exploitation of immigation by xenophobic forces; the growing anxiety in front of immigrants' presence by the Italian population, responding, at the same time, to the lack of coherent policies and to the xenophobic discourse of some political forces: all these factors have maintaned the immigration issue in a “emergency” approach, unfavorable to systematic integration measures and initiatives.

There is no doubt that the shifts in the attitude of the Italian population towards immigration and immigrants has influenced migratory policies: the right-wing parties have exploited attitudes of hostility and suspicion to get votes, while the left-wing parties have not dared to implement measures in favour of the immigrants, like the vote at the local elections, fearing to lose consensus.

During the eighties, a sort of “social tolerance” seemed to characterise the attitudes of the majority of the Italian population in front of immigrants. For a short time, the idea of multiculturalism seemed accepted by a large part of the political establishment: these ideas were reflected at least in the directives of the Ministery of Education on foreign children reception and intercultural education.

The situation changed rapidly: during the nineties, the Italian society has began to show high levels of xenophobia, shifting into open manifestations of racism, while the political exploitation of immigration by the political forces of the centre-right parties expressed itself in racist discourses and discriminatory practices that are “unthinkable” in any other European country. There is no doubt that the anti-immigrants propaganda done by the neo-populist parties and the media controlled by them (it must not be forgotten that Mr. Berlusconi is the owner of three televisions and of several newspapers, like Il Giornale, Libero, Il Foglio, characterized by the anti-immigrants discourse), have influences a part of the Italian public opinion. The public opinion, however, has also been frightened by what seemed an “uncontrollable” phenomenon.

Moreover, suspicion or hostility towards multiculturalism have been expressed even by progressive thinkers. As we will see, even the counsellor of the Minister for Social Affairs, Livia Turco, who prepared a new Law on immigration, criticized multiculturalism!

5. A consequence of the Mediterranean model: linguistic diversity among foreign children in the Italian schools

One of the main characters of the immigration towards Italy is its high differenciation in terms of nationalities and ethnic groups. This is reflected by the composition of the foreign students, who, as we have already mentioned, belong to 191 different nationalities and who have approximately 80 origin languages!

This creates difficulties in the attempt of developing specific school activities with the foreign students: to teach in a class with a group of foreign students coming all from different countries needs a different approach than to teach in class with a group of pupils coming all from the same country.

The first main nationalities which are present in the Italian schools were in the year 2003-2004: Albania (17,68%, with 49.963 students), Morocco (14,90% with 42.126 students), Romania (9,77% with 27.627 students), China (5,52 with 15.610), Ecuador (3,78% with 10.674).

These data show that, today, the majority of the foreign students are from Eastern Europe, which correspond to the data on the nationalities of the immigrant adults. Chinese children are an important presence in the Italian schools since the eighties, because of the peculiar patterns of the Chinese migration.

The great fragmentation of the nationalities find a direct expression in the variety of the languages that are spoken at school. There isn't yet a systematic monitoring (mappatura) of the languages that are effectively spoken by the immigrants living in Italy. This is certainly a great lack, for the social and institutional services that should be in direct contact with them. In the school, it has recently been done a first study on the languages of the foreigner children. It is a list that is far from being complete, because it is not simple at all to take into account all the languages spoken in each nation, for example all the languages spoken in Nigeria (around 200) or in India. From a research done in 2000, it appeared that the languages spoken by the pupils were around 80 (78) (MIUR 2000; Vedovelli e Villarini, 2001).

The level of knowledge of the languages of origin depends from different factors: the age, the place of birth, the school trajectories, the family choices, the typology of the languages. Graziella Favaro (2004) makes a distinction between different typologies of children in relation to their knowledge of the language of origin, which will be called L1, while the Italian is L2:

•  children born in Italy:

a1-children monolingual in L1, who, entering school, become bilingual-L1 and L2 (Italian);

a2-children who become bilingual in Kindergarden;

a3-children, who learn only Italian because of a family choice, often because of the pressure of social services and teachers.

•  children born in the country of origin:

b1-children, who know the L1 only orally, because they didn't go to school in the country of origin;

b2-children who speak an oral language at home and can read and write in the national language (for example Chinese), because they went ti school in the country of origin;

b3-children who have a written and oral competence of the language of origin;

b4-children who speak a L1 at home, but have been educated in a foreign language like English or French.

In other words, among the foreign childeren, there is a great linguistic complexity: some groups speak one or more national and/or official languages (Arabic and French language for people from Tunisia, Chinese classic language for people from China), together with one or more dialects, according to the origin regions.

A language at home and another practiced outside; an oral language and a written one; a language for a context and another one for another context: competences and oral and written of immigrant children include words, sounds, structures that belong to more systems and codes. They represent forms of bilingualism in fieri, which waits to be recognized, maintained, supported and developed, no matter what are the languages in contact.” (Favaro, 2004, p.274)

No doubt that such a linguistic complexity represents a problem for the integration of foreign children in the Italian schools. Besides the fact that many of them arrive to school unable to speak Italian -this is mostly the case for those who arrive in Italy for the reunification with their parents, but the problem is the same even for children born in Italy when the family lives isolated or with slight relations with local population-, there are often problems of “semi-linguism” and diglossia, especially when the family decides to speak Italian (often badly spoken Italian) to the child, sometimes under suggestion of the school teachers!

In fact, such a linguistic diversity would need a specific engagement for the school, which should establish links and mediate among different experiences. Or, this is not what happens in the Italian schools, which are not sustained in the new task of receiving foreign students with all their diversity, especially for what concerns the linguistic issue.

The language problems is, by the way, what worries the most the teachers: what to do with children, who don't speak Italian? The answer is not easy, because there is no systematic teaching of Italian as L2 in the Italian schools: in some schools there are systematic courses, but, in the majority of the schools, the teaching of the Italian language is done by the so-calles support teachers ( insegnanti di sostegno ), foreseen by the Law 270 of 1982 for the psycho-pedagogical support of children with difficulties of apprentship. The use of the support teachers shows clearly that the model used by the Italian Ministry of Education for the integration of foreign children is the same used for disabled people.

In front of the linguistic difficulties and in absence of systematic courses in Italian language, a common practice used by the teachers has consisted in sending foreign children, who don't speak the Italian language, to the first classes of the primary school, indipendently from their age. In order to fight against this practice, which is still used in some cases, the Ministry of Education has prepared various Directives and Memorandums. The same Law 40/98 contains an article (45) that is opposed to this practice.

Graziella Favaro states:” There are no incentives to support the reception, the integration and the school success of foreign pupils or to facilitate the comunication school-family...There are not enough cultural mediators or linguists supporters (facilitatori). As far as teachers training are concerned, intercultural education and didactics do not represent a compulsory content of initial or in-service training.

The lack of education policies has a negative impact, which is prouved by the critical situation of foreign children, who have bad results in the Italian schools and fail in reaching high level of schooling (as secondary schools of second level) and qualified vocational training. The perception of the teachers tends, however, to attribute this failure to the pupils themselves (for example to their cultural difference). The problem is that teachers tend to evaluate foreign students in the same way as the Italians. However, some teachers are aware that the main reasons for school failure of foreign children are the inappropriate didactic methodologies.

According to a research done by the Ministry of Education, with the purpose of knowing the reasons for school failure among Italian and foreign students, the results are the following (table 1)

Tab. 1. Reasons for school failure among Italian and foreign students (2001)


Italian students

Foreign students

Not reached scholastic goals



Lack of participation of the student



Lack of care of the family



Inconstancy in the attendance



Inappropriate didactic methodologies



Lack of integration



Answers of school directors of 5.361 schools (it was possible to give more than one answer)

At the origin of these spontaneous, not planified flows, two factors must be considered: “push factors” and immigration containement policies in Northern Europe . The importance of the push factors in the sending countries of Africa, Middle East, Latin America and Eastern Europe should be taken into account: conflicts, extension of poverty, worsening of economic and social differences, “anticipatory socialization” throught global media. Pushed by their living conditions, migrants try to reach Europe, but, since the mid-seventies, Northern European countries have closed their borders to labour migrants, limiting entries to family reunification and refugee status.

The consequence of this unbalance between “push factors” and restrictive European migratory policies has been the growing importance of clandestine migrants, trying to enter into Europe through the Southern gate: Italy, Spain, Greece. However, these countries are not only a gate: in the large informal sector, immigrants can find jobs natives do not want to do any more.

Italy is the second European Union country after Greece as to the importance of its informal economy.

It is remarquable to notice that the nationalities represented at the United Nations are 194!

Committee for Migrants' Integration Policies, Second report on migration in Italy, edited by G. Zincone.

The centre-right coalition was shortly in power in 1994. Afterwards a technical government, headed by Mr Lamberto Dini, and, from 1996 onwards, the centre-left coalition have ruled the country

In the 80‘s the immigrants have been perceived and represented by the media as poor people in danger needing for protection and assistance. In 90‘s, on the contrary, a negative social image of the immigrant has been built. Immigrants are now perceived as usurpers, stealing the job to autochthonous, violating the rules. Immigrate have become a sort of scapegoat for the social and cultural problems which are part of the country. The sociologists talk about the social construction of the foreigner as an enemy (Dal Lago, 1998).

It is the case, for example, of Giovanni Sartori, a famous political thinker, who is very critical in front of the Berlusconi government, but who has written a book very hostile to multiculturalism (cercare il libro di Sartori e mettere le referenze, anche qualche citazione).

Source: data MIUR recorded in Caritas, 2002, p. 184.

In front of such a situation, the same idea of implementing systematic measures for the maintain of the languages and cultures of origin appears quite irrealistic: there are already so many problems for the teaching of Italian as L2, which is more necessary! In spite of these difficulties, however, the issue of keeping the mother language is often perceived as important by the parents, especially in the case of some national groups, as we will see in Workpackage 4 and 6.

In this phase, Italian school doesn't answer to the family wishes: there are no legal dispositions that implement systematically the teaching of immigrant minorities' languages, there is no trained personnel, there is no national funding for it.


6. For a reasonable integration, a reasonable proposal in Italy

An interestinmg idea about education of foreign children was given by the Itaolian Commission for the integration policies of immigrants, directed by professor Giovanna Zincone, with task of referring on the status of integration policies of immigrants in Italy. In the first Report, published in 2000, the Commission analyses different aspects of integration:labour market, education, health, housing, political participation, discrimination. The Commission proposes as well a model of “reasonable integration”, in which education plays an important role.

The Commission insists on the importance of teaching Italian as L2 in the schools (insertion courses, afternoon courses, support teachers, specific didactic instruments...). The linguistic incompetence is underlined as one of the main reason for exclusion and difficulties. This problem concerns as well adult immigrants, who are interested in the apprentship of the language and have no time, because of the work, to follow the public courses of the CTP. They must adress themselves to private institutions or NGOs that organize courses in more flexible way, for example even on weekends.

The Commission insists as well on the importance of the languages of origin of the immigrants: “ For an economy as the Italian one, which looks at the foreign markets, and that has an important turistic sector, being able to count on minorities capable to speak Chinese, Arabic, Spanish might represent, in the future, a great ressort. The Commission considers that what is spent for the teaching of the language of origin should be considered not only an element of respect of diversity, but an useful economic investment .” (Zincone, 2000, p.81)

It is sad to admit that this idea has not been taken by the political forces to implement the teaching of the languages and cultures of origin in the schools. Nor have the two proposals suggested by the Commission:

“- to continue to maintain, where possible, the study of the languages of the main communities that are presentg in Italy; this might be an useful ressort in the future for an economy as ours, opened to international exchanges and characterized by an important turistic sector;

-to form a considerable number of teachers (pilot teachers) to the knowledge of the structures of minority languages and the cultural heritage of the countries of origin of the main communities of immigrants. These teachers should afterwards support the others. To encourage the offer of “pilot-teachers” through increase of the salary and reduction of teaching-time. ” (Zincone, 2000, p.81)

These proposals are interesting: nevetheless, they don't suggest a systematic teaching of the languages of origin (it is precised, where possible ) and don't make any reference to possible bilateral agreements for the teaching of the languages of origin, as it had been the case in old immigration countries, with the experience of the ELCO, Enseignement des Langues et des cultures d'origine.

The Commission was, however, closed after the victory of the centre-right coalition.



Because of the characters of the Mediterranean model, institutions have more reacted than acted. This has concerned both the State policies and the local institutions, which have been the most active in developing integration policies. The civil societies have reacted in various ways, confused often by contradictory discourses of the political power. Facing the question of the immigrants, the schools have been forced to review the models of education, coexistence, citizenship and pushes towards the adoption of a borderless horizon. If we try to understand the evolution of such a process, two lines appear: both show that institutions react and not act, while the true answers come from the civil society. The first line concerns the norms, the directives coming from the school administration, the school programs. The second line concerns the solidaristic approach, done by one thousand projects, one thousand initiatives, promoted by Towns, Provinces, informal networks among schools, immigrants'communities, NGOs, local authorities.

The dichotomy lasts in the time and it is quite difficult to perceive the manifest features of an intervention policy that should be a common European policy, adapted to the national and local reality.


Annexe. Foreign children in the Italian schools: the data

As it generally happens in the beginning of a migratory process, first flows have been mainly composed by men and women alone, the number of families with children being extremely limited.

First migrants to Italy presented very different typologies: political refugees, from Latin America, Vietnam, Erythrea; "border immigrants", like Tunisians in Sicily, working on fish boats and in agriculture or Yugoslavs in Friuli and Trieste, at the Eastern border of the country, working mainly in construction ); maids, from Cabo Verde, Erythrea, Mauritius, Salvador, Philippines and Sri-Lanka; Chinese small entrepreneurs in restaurant and leather industry.

The few children who came with the parents were scattered in the Italian schools, which didn't foresee any specific measures for them. The only exception is represented by the Tunisian children who had settled with their families in a small town in Sicily, Mazara del Vallo. Tunisians immigrants arrived in Mazara del Vallo in the early seventies to work in fishing boats: they could find housing in the old town and brought with them their families. With the help of the Tunisian government, a Tunisian primary school for Tunisians children was opened and is still functioning. This school allows the children to follow a complete Tunisian school trajectory. When they reach the age of secondary school, children are sent back to Tunisia. This experience is not the result of a national policy, but of a local agreement. It will be presented in Workpackage 4.

It is only after 1990 that the presence of immigrant children in the Italian schools, in all levels and degrees, has become significant in numbers. Their arrival corresponded to changes in the migratory situation. The industrial sector, mainly in Northern Italy, started to absorbe more and more immigrants, who could develop a project of settlement. The stabilisation of immigrant communities began.

The growth of foreign children presence has been extremely rapid, particularly in the last years. “ The character of the Italian model is that, in comparison with other European countries of longer multicultural tradition, the change has been extremely rapid. This can be seen very well, considering the data of the small towns, which, up to ten years ago, had never had significant numbers of foreign pupils .” (MIUR, September 2004)

In twenty years, from the school year 1983-84 to the school year 2003-2004, the number of foreign students in different degrees and levels of the school system has increased of around 40 times, passing from 6.104 units to 282.683 foreign students, around 3,5% of the school population, according to the estimations of the Ministry of Education, which generally, as we will see, underestimate this presence.

For the first time, in the school year 1998-1999, the pourcentage of foreign children has represented more than 1%. It has increased to the point of reaching the 2% of the entire scholastic population in 2001-2002, passed to 3%, in 2002-2003 and to 3,5% in 2003-2004. Since 1999, the growth pourcentage has been around 25% for each year. The foreign pupils have increased even more in the last two years, after the last regularisation in 2002-2003, with a growth rate of around 28% and around 50.000 pupils more for each year. In the fall 2004, the presence of foreign pupils is estimated to 310.000 (Repubblica, Unità, 9-9-2004)! (see Table 2)

These data are, by they way, partial, because of the way of collecting data of the Ministry of Education: they refer to around 90% of public schools and 82% of the private schools (MIUR, 2003). The number of foreign children in the Italian schools is, in fact, higher, probably of 5-10%, that would give us around 340.000 foreign pupils for the year 2004-2005.

Table 2. Presence of foreign students in Italian schools (1998-2001)

s. y. 1998/1999

s. y. 1999/2000

s. y. 2000/2001

s. y. 2001/2002






2002-2003: 233.000

2003-2004: 282.683

2004-2005: 310.000

Source: Ufficio per l'Integrazione degli studenti immigrati .

These numbers are going to grow in the next years, according to the estimations elaborated by the Commission for Integration: the presence of immigrants with less than 20 years should double in the period 1997-2007 (from 214.000 to 487.000). To this phase should follow a less intense period. Consequently, in the next ten years, schools would have to face the most important arrivals of foreign children (Zincone, 2001).

Table 3. Estimations of the growth of foreign students according to the Ministery of Education

Ricopiare Tabella 3, pag. 68

The distribution of the foreign children in the Italian territory is not, however, homogeneous: their presence is higher in the North, particularly the North-East , where live 65% of the total students, mostly in Lombardy (24,8%), Emilia Romagna and Veneto (around 12% each one), Piedmont (10%). 25% live in the Centrum (especially in Tuscany, 9%), while just 10% live in the South. This lack of homogeneity implies a strong concentration of foreign students in some schools, in other words in those located in the great employment attraction areas for immigrants.

Examining the data, it is possible to see that distribution of the pupils reflects the distribution of the immigrants, according to a model, which can be defined as “varied and polycentric”: “ Attraction poles are not only big towns, but as well small towns and villages. In many small and medium towns, the majority of the immigrant children are staying in the towns of the province instead than in the capital .” (MIUR, 2004)

Highest pourcentages on the total of the school population are not in the big towns but in small and medium cities: Mantova (9.3% of the school population are foreign children) (Lombardia), Prato (9,1% of the school population are foreign children), in Tuscany, a centre of textile industry (the Prato experience will be analyzed in Workpackage 4 and 6); Reggio Emilia (8,7%), Piacenza (8,3%), Modena (8,1%) all three of them in Emilia Romagna, Pordenone (6,4%) in Veneto (MIUR, 2004) . “ This allows us to underline the fact that Italy is experiencing in this moment a great variety of situations in relationship to cultural contact, according to the quantitative dimension of the flows in the different local realities and according to the typologies of the ethnic groups that settle in each area. ” (Luatti, 2004, p.71).

As far as the distribution of the foreign children in the different levels of the Italian school system, there is a clear premodninance of the compulsory schools, that is primary school and secundary school of the first degree. According to the data of the Ministery of Education, 65 foreign students on 100 are on the compulsory schools.

The most consistent presence is in primary schools, which accept 42,5% of students, at the second place there are the secondary schools of first level with 24% of students, while the kindergartens have approximately 20% of students – but the number of students in kindergartens is strongly growing thanks to the high number of births among the immigrant population (approximately 25.000 births each year). On the contrary, only 12,5% are following the secondary school of second level (table 4). In this level of schools, foreign students tend to choose professional and technical schools, giving diplomas that can be immediately used in the labour market. This is as well the result of the high selection foreign students are victims in the Italian schools, as we will see in the next paragraph.

In primary schools, foreign children represent around 4% of the school population aqgainst 1,5% for the secondary schools of second level.

Table 3. Foreign students in different school levels: division according to areas (s. y. 2000-2001)



Secondary I grade

Secondary II grade


Incid. scholast. Pop.

North west







North east










































Source: Caritas, 2002, p. 180.

Aggiornare questa tabella con i dati del 2003-2004 o almeno del 2002-2003


Annexe. The immigration issue and the Italian linguistic pluralism

The intensifying of the presence of foreign children, speaking different languages, in the Italian schools, has raised new issues to teachers and administrators. It must be stressed, in fact, that, in spite of the indications of the Italian Constitution, which, in article 6, states the protection of the linguistic minorities, the Italian school system has dedicated little attention to the promotion of bilingualism or multilingualism, with the exception of few areas where a multilingual education system is implemented.

These areas are mostly: Val d'Aosta (where the language spoken is a Franco-Provençal dialect and the bilingual education is done in French), Trentino-Alto Adige (in the province of Bolzano German, Italian and Ladin are spoken. There are Italian and German schools. Ladin is taught as well) and Friuli Venezia Giulia ( in the provinces of Trieste and Gorizia there are state schools where the Slovenian language is taught). Isolated and fragmented initiatives have been taken as well at a regional and local level in some southern regions, where there are minorities speaking Arberesh (a variation of Albanian) and Grico (a variation of Greek).

These topics will be dealt deeply in Workpackages 3 and 5. It is however important to understand the contradiction between a mono-lingual and a mono-cultural school system and a national reality, where bilingualism and multilingualism are quite common in different parts of the peninsula. Indeed, there are twelve languages which should need the protection given by article 6 of the Italian Constitution (De Mauro, 1983, 5)! Moreover, the linguistic minorities who speak different languages should be, according to recent data, at least fifteen (see Workpackage 3 and 5). But, as it is written in an international Report of the CERI, the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation of the OECD, “we had educational policies for minorities, rather than policies for multicultural education.” (CERI, 1989)

Another linguistic reality is represented by the dialects, which, in some regions, are still largely spoken. In relation to this issue, the Italian school tends in most of the cases to neglect the fact that there is a high number of dialect-speaking students (most of them belonging to the middle-low social class) and the fact that, for many of them, the Italian language represents, from any point of view, a second language.

The issue became particularly crucial in the period of strong internal migrations, during the fifties and sixties. In the case of internal immigrants' children, schools had to face pupils with peculiar linguistic needs, having to confront themselves with three languages, the origin dialect, the regional Italian of the immigration and the Italian standard. As a matter of fact, schools didn't really take into account the linguistic and cultural differences. The pedagogical approcah of the time focused mainly the class differences among pupils.

From the cultural point of view, the little attention towards linguistic pluralism in Italy is testified by the slow and difficult re-descovery of the dialect poetry that, in the second half of ‘900, was operated by philology and literature critique. In the same direction goes the attention to authors like Gadda (the contribute of Gianfranco Contini was crucial) (METTERE CONTINI IN BIBLIOGRAFIA). In the last decades some steps have been done both from the point of view of the contents taught in schools (with the introduction of authors, who represent ‘minority' linguistic tendencies) and from the point of view of the attention towards the psycho-social aspects of the language teaching.

In spite of the linguistic pluralism existing in Italy or, more probably, because of the scarce recognition of the phenomenon, the answer to the specific needs stressed by the growing presence of foreign children in the schools has not been given in terms of a general approach to cultural and linguistic pluralism. On the contrary, the new differentiated linguistic presence, resulting from foreign immigration, has been delt, at the best, in terms of intercultural education, at the worst, in terms of compensatory education. The analysis of the Ministry of Education directives will precisely show this reality. The positions of the Ministers of the present governement, who are stressing a strong division between the languages of the historical minorities and the languages of the immigrants (see Workpackage 3, the positions of the Ministers Giovanardi and La Loggia), are not going in the direction of a comprehensive view of Italian linguistic and cultural pluralism.

In the case of Italy, therefore, it is not the arrival of immigrants' children in the schools that created a multilingual context. This existed already, but it was not taken into account as such for the development of a pluralistic education model. It is however true, that, because of the settlement of immigrants in the Italian society, the bilingual and multilingual issue has become more and more complex, more and more differentiated, particularly in some areas of the country. Schools have finally been obliged to develop new pedagogical tools, especially in the primary level and the pedagogical researchers to elaborate new theories, models and instruments. This new research and intervention field was developed in Regional Centres for Teachers' Training, the IRRSAE, now IRRE, in other words Regional Educational Research Institute, Istituti Regionali Ricerca Educativa , NGOs and agencies working the schools, Universities. The researches, activities, analysis, suggestions have been recorded by many reports of theoretical and practical nature and have been discusses in national and international meetings, often in the frame of the COMENIUS or SOCRATES European programs.

The experts, who have been working in the field of education for foreign children are unaminous on the fact that it is not sufficient for the teachers to have some superficial notions about the cultures of the foreign children. What is necessary is a systematic training to the reception of foreign childrem, to the intercultural relations and the multicultural classroom. As we will see, something has been done, particularly in some areas, in Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Lombardy: Some groups have benefited of specific programs more than others. This is the case, for example, of the Chinese, whose experience will be analyzed in Workpackage 4 and 6.

However, in spite of this theoretical and practical activity, the developement of a general, systematic receiving policy is still missing. It is interesting to notice that in 1982, a European Community Directive –Community Directive n.77/486 of 1977-, had introduced the principle of integration and respect of the of the cultures of origin for young immigrants in the European Schools, overcoming concepts as special classes and assimilation, which had been practiced in the past in immigration countries of Northern Europe. In the Directive, the principles of integration in normal school courses, the teaching of the immigration country's language as L2, the maintain of the language and culture of origin and the importance of intercultural education are stressed. Italy was not yet an immigration country: the interest for the Directive concerned mainly Italian children living in Europe, second and third generation of the Italian emigration.

The Decret for the implementation of the European Directive, D.P.R. n.722 of the 10 th of September 1982 is adressed only to European children, who are resident in Italy. Nevertheless, the principles written in this Directive have been incorporated in the different directives and memorandum emanating from the Ministry of Education since 1989. One interesting aspect, which is contained in the principles of the D.P.R. n.722 is the refusal of special classes for foreign children, who must be integrated in the normal classes. In order to answer to their difficulties (and the one of the teachers and the classroom), it is authorized the use of a so-called support teacher ( insegnante di sostegno ), foreseen by the Law 270 of 1982 for activities of psico-pedagogicol support for pupils having difficulties in apprentship.

In the next paragraph the norms established by the Ministry of Education and article 36 in matter of education of foreign children will been analyzed.

The indications for a reception policy in the schools in front of foreign children have been combined with the encouragment to the intercultural approach, as a common education model for all children. The predominance of the intercultural approach has characterized the Directives of the Ministery until the late nineties. Only in the last year, the intercultural approach has disappeared, in correspondance to the new education policy promoted by the centre-right coalition.

In fact, directives, norms and memorandum, programs for primary school and Kindergarten enounce important principles for the reception of foreign children and for the general education approach, at least until the last Reform of 2003, wanted by the right-wing government. The problem is that not much has been done in practice. On one side there are the directives, on the other the real school.

The limits of the Italian policies towards immigrant linguistic minorities are evident: there is no systematic reception system for the children; there is no systematic teaching of Italian as L2; there is no systematic approach towards cultural and linguistic pluralism, while the idea of intercultural education is progressively dismissed by the official discourse of the Ministry of Education; there is no training for the teachers, who tend to feel inadequate to face the new types of classrooms. With 2.600.000 immigrants, which represent a structural presence, with 310.000 children of foreign origin, still many teachers still panic in front of foreign children, who can't speak the Italian language or can't follow the programs!

The attitudes of the teachers will be better analyzed in Workpackages 4 and 6: to anticipate some of the results, it is common for teachers state that they are doing all the best they can, but...where but stays for:”but the problems are not really solved, pupils don't follow the programs as we would like, we don't have the instruments to do better...etc...”

Unfortunately, the richness of cultural and linguistic diversity is perceived as a problem by many teachers and in the Italian society.

We are referring here to Kindergarten, compulsory school (primary and secondary of first level), secondary of second level, that is the age groups between 3 and 18. We are not referring to Universities.

Friuli had been destroyed by an earthquake in l976.

Because of the high demand of domestic help by the Italian families, women are among the first immigrants to arrive in Italy. However, they come alone, leaving behind their families.

The regularisation that accompanied the Bossi-Fini Law.

These numbers are still lower than the ones of France, Germany, Great Britain: in France pupils of foreign origin are around the 6%, in Germany around 9,7%, in Great Britain, they are 14%. In Spain, on the contrary, they are the same pourcentage as in Italy: around 3%.

The same distinction between language and dialect is, by the way, questioned by many linguists.


Annexe. The Ministry of Education norms until 1998

The operative strategies, developed by the schools to answer to specific needs of immigrants' children– for example the linguistic support – have been defined by the school legislation, enacted by the Ministry of Education.

In the school norms, the first reference to the presence of immigrant children in Italian school dates back to the “New Didactic programs of primary school” ( Nuovi programmi didattici della scuola primaria ), approuved in 1985 and implemented in school year 1987-88.

In the programs, it is explicitely mentioned the respect of differences, and the “ aknowledgment of different forms of diversity and marginality in order to prevent and oppose the formation of stereotypes and prejudices towards persons and cultures .” (D.P.R. n.104, 12 th of February 1985)

It is however, since 1989, that the Ministry of Education has showed more and more attention to immigrants' children integration in the school system and to the intercultural approach. Several memorandums (almost one each year) have fixed the guidelines for the reception practices for foreign children and encourage the development of intercultural education. Much attention has been given to the linguistic needs of students and to the education to differences. These memorandum establish criteria, principles, indications to which schools must pay particular attention, while Laws should enforce them.

The first Ministerial Memorandum on the topic (concerning both intercultural education and immigrants'children education), is the Memorandum 301 of the 8 th September 1989: it makes reference to the indications given by the international organisations – the United Nations on children rights, the European Union about education for the children of immigrant workers, the European Council – and clarifies the role that the Italian school must have for the reception of foreign children.

Besides the right to education, whose exercise is extended to all the children of regular immigrants, precise indications concern the protection of cultural and ethnic pluralism in the school, with a special attention to the linguistic field. New actions are foreseen for teachers, who should be formed to a greater consciousness about the meaning of a multicultural society.

The Ministry Memorandum 205 of the 25 th July 1990 takes into account, indeed, few new elements introduced by the immigration law 39/90, and establishes some new aspects compared to the previous Memorandum, even if it confirms the basis stressed in the previous one. The Memorandum combines the suggestions for the reception of foreign children (for example the principle that foreign pupils should be integrated in the class corresponding to their age, even if they don't speak Italian) with the proposal of making of intercultural education a new didactic approach for everybody.

Chapter VI defines intercultural education as an ability to mediate between cultures, to promote the communication, the democracy, the peaceful cohabitation. In fact Directive 205 offers an “official” definition of intercultural education, based on the valorisation of differences.

Great importance is given to in service teachers' training: the directive suggests the creation of a service through which teachers would receive specific competencies and abilities to allow them to face an unusual reality; to such training must participate the IRRSAE (now IRRE, in other words Regional Educational Research Institute, Istituti Regionali Ricerca Educativa ), the local agencies, the training agencies in the territory.

In the same year 1990, the reform of the primary school has formalized the use of the support teachers for the individualized assistence to foreign pupils.

“Intercultural dialogue and democratic coexistence: the projectual engagement for the school” (“Dialogo interculturale e convivenza democratica: l'impegno progettuale della scuola” ) is the name of the Ministery Memorandum 73 of 2 nd March 1994, which is presented as a wide and organised document. The intercultural issue is presented in its complexity: it is stressed again the idea that intercultural education represents an “educational prospective for everybody”, which already informed the former memorandum 122/1992. Starting from an idea of intercultural education coherent with the one proposed by the European Council, according to which the intercultural education must be the highest educational answer to the multicultural society, the document indicates all the steps that the school must take to face all the needs of the new society.

The effective strategies proposed are various: the creation, inside the school, of a relational atmosphere ( clima relazionale ), which will make the integration among students and between them and the teachers easier; a new didactic organization in terms of methodology and of contents; a specific training for teachers. The Memorandum makes as well reference to school books, to libraries and multimedia libraries, which must be organised to give an appropriate answer to the educational needs of the students. A special attention is paid to the need to built a cultural network which could be able to link the different sources in the territory.

The intercultural dimension of the different disciplines is further developed in a study on “Intercultural Education in School Programs”, published in 1995 in the Yearbook of the Ministry of Education (Annali della Pubblica Istruzione). In the study it is stressed again the principle that intercultural education doesn't concern only some subjects, but it accompanies the whole education process.

It appears, therefore, that, in terms of scholastic legislation, the approach that is followed is the choice of intercultural education for everybody: the preservation of languages and cultures of origin is not foreseen. These principles are recalled and deepened in several later documents, including in the same Law 40 of 1998.


Annexe. The Law 40/98 and foreign children's education.

In the already mentioned Law 40 of 6 th March 1998 on immigration, there are a fewt articles where it is question of the education of foreign children submitted to compulsory education, of intercultural education and of linguistic and cultural differences (as already mentioned, these articles of the Law have been maintained in the Immigration law 189/2002, called Bossi-Fini).

According to this legislation , all foreign minors who live in the Italian territory, independently from the fact of being regular or not, are subjected to compulsory education: in other words they have the rights to register to elementary and middle schools, if they still have to go through mandatory education. The same legislations concerning the education rights for Italian students applies to them. State, the Regions and the local education agencies should contribute to the implementation of such right, through the activation of courses for learning the Italian language and teachers training programs, focusing on intercultural aspects ( art 36 o 38, paragraph 2, U.T.).

The same principles have been reaffirmed in article 45 of the Realisation Regulation (D.P.R. 349/99), named “School registration” ( “Iscrizione scolastica” ), which establishes that the foreign children must be registered in the class corresponding to the personal age and that such registration could happen any time of the school year, as reaffirmed by the following M.M. 311/99 and 87/00. The same legislation gives, however, to the Teaching Body ( Collegio Docenti ) important autonomy in the evaluation of single cases, included the possibility to register the students to a class which doesn't correspond to their age, on the basis of a previous evaluation of the kind of studies done in the origin country, of the eventual degree obtained or of the individual abilities. Foreign minors, who are irregular or without personal documents, are registered with reserve: however, their educational path to obtain a degree should not be limited because of the lack of documents. It is worth to remind as well that the application rules of the Law 40 support the networking among education institutions.

After 1998, the most important documents have been the Directive on Teachers Training 210 of the third of September 1999 and the Directive 249 of 21 st October 1999 about schools located in areas with high migratory presence.

The first one, Directive 210, establishes a program for teachers training particularly attentive to the teaching of Italian language as L2. The issue of teaching the Italian language to foreign children has become the main concern for the Ministry of Education. In order to improve the situation, the Directive establishes special funding for teachers' training. Specific courses on reception practices and teaching of Italian as L2 are foreseen for teachers who work in the schools where there is a strong presence of not Italian speaking students coming from the immigration world.

The courses for teachers of Italian as L2 have been established by the Ministry, which selects the teachers who participate to them, and have been realized by several Italian Universities, which had proposed a program and have been proved as appropriate to be in charge of such issue (E.M, Memorandum 83 of 8 th February 2001).

The Directive 249 has established the allotments of specific financial ressources to single schools and increases the school fund for the developemnt of activities directed to improve the integration of foreign students and nomads (Roma children) in the school context (such M.M. is referred to the school year 1999-2000; in the following years, included the current one, similar memorandums have been adopted): all the schools, whose number of foreign students reach 10% of the scholastic population can ask to take advantages of such fundings through the presentation of a project to the Ministry.

In order to encourage school-directors and teachers to improuve the reception-system for foreign children and intercultural education, in the years 1998-1999, the Ministry of Education has organized four national Seminars: “The cultures in the Mediterraneum and the Italian school”, “The teaching of the Italian language to foreign immigrants, adult and children”, “Intercultural training in schools of any order and grade” and “Seminar on Jewish History and Culture.”

Concluding remarks on the school norms and the Ministry of Education Memorandum should stress the distance between a theoretical approach, which have accepted the indications of the most advances pedagogical thinking (for example in matter of intercultural education) and the reality of a school, which doesn't have the ressources for guaranteeing the reception of foreign children and the teaching of Italian as L2.

Moreover, even if the Law 40 speaks of “promoting and encouraging initiatives tending to the protection of cultures and languages of origin.” , the teaching of languages and cultures of origin has not been foreseen by any Directive or Memorandum.


Annexe. The School Reform: immigration, foreign children and education

Since the end of the eighties, neo-populist forces, first of all the Northern League, but also Forza Italia, the party of Mr. Berlusconi, and National Alliance, the party of Mr. Fini, have exploited immigration as an electoral issue. However, it is the all ideology of the centre-right coalition that is hostile to immigration as source of cultural diversity. This appears clearly in the positions on linguistic minorities.

Hostile to multiculturalism, the centre-right doesn't want to consider immigrants as a minority. In recent Conferences, one in Venice on linguistic minorities, titled “Ethnicities looking for common principles” and one in Capomarino, Carlo Giovanardi, Minister for the relations with the Parliament, has openly declared that only autochtonous ethnicities have to be supported. The Minister has underlined that it is necessary to clarify the issues concerning the situation in matter of minorities rights, given the evolution of the last years. “New immigration in Europe creates new problems in comparison with the past. It is necessary to deepen the role and the position of historical minorities and of new minorities formed by the immigrants. The problem becomes more complex if languages spoken by those who have come into the old continent are taken into account.(....)” In front of this the Minister has proposed that in the concept of protection of linguistic minorities should be included only the ethnic groups who have roots in the territory, who are native and who can refer to a nearby country. In the concept of protection of linguistic minorities, new ethnic groups, resulting from immigration, should not be included.

At the moment immigrants are not considered in the legislation on minorities (see Workpackage 3), and, as long as this government is in power, it is quite clear that they will not be. These positions are as well reflected in the School Reform.

We have seen that the Law 189/2002, called Bossi-Fini, didn't modify the articles concerning foreign children education. However, since it arrived into power, the centre-right coalition has engaged the government in a school reform, prepared by the Minister of Education, Letizia Moratti and her counsellors. This reform “Delega al Governo per la definizione delle norme generali sull'istruzione e dei livelli essenziali delle prestazioni in materia di istruzione e di formazione professionale” has been approuved by the Senat the 12th March 2003. This Law, strongly criticized by the trade unions, teachers' associations and parents' associations, affects as well school policies for the reception of foreign children and intercultural education.

Both intercultural and the revision of the curricula from the intercultural point of view, which had characterized the various Memoranda of the Ministry of Education between 1989 and 1999, have been abandoned by the Reform proposed by the Law approuved in March 2003, which has not yet been completely enacted.

In the Law, the terms “interculture” and intercultural education do not appear: foreigners (children or adults) and migrations are never mentioned. “ Pretending as if foreigners do not exist means the refusal to consider them as citizens and/or workers and to take them in charge as users. Pretending that foreign children do not attend the schools signifies an attempt to cancel not only intercultural education, but as well education to development, to peace, just to mention some approaches. It should be remembered that intercultural education has been the object of different Ministry memorandum and, together with other educations (to peace, to development, etc...) has been recognized, promoted and experienced by the same Ministry and by other central organs of the Public Administration. ” (Ziglio, 2004, p.145)

The Reform has to recognize the fact that we olive in a multicultural and multireligious society and puts as a general goal for the education process in the primary school, the diversity of persons and cultures as a richness. Difference is, however, often quoted in reference to disabled people or in a negative sense. As far as cultural difference is concerned, the reform is referring to the regional differences inside Italy: the attention to regional differences was, in fact, imposed by the important role the Northern League is playing in the centre-right government. It is precisely because of the Northern League positions that a comprehensive view of cultural and linguistic pluralism including both historical linguistic minorities and new immigrant minorities is, at the moment, impossible, as it will be shown in Workpackage 3.

The Reform speaks of “personalized study-plans”to be prepared by the single schools, which “ in respect with the autonomy of the school institutions, contain a fundamental core, homogeneous on national basis, which reflects culture, traditions and national identity, and foresee a quota, reserved to regions, concerning the aspect of specific interest of the same regions, in connection with the local realities .”

The Reform proposes the “education to civic coexistence” as a synthesis of all other educations, that is the ones mentioned by the Law, that means precisely, education to citizenship, to health, to affectivity, road education, environment education and food education (DA VERIFICARE L'INGLESE).

Education to civic coexistence is defined as “ general final goal of school action of education and training. The education that gives a sense to the whole school-experience . “(MIUR, 2003)

This education to the civic coexistence may seem similar to the “education to citizenship”, which has been promoted in multiculrual countries like Canada, in the search of common shared values: in other words, there is a predominance of the civic values on the ethnic traditions. In fact, the Italian context is very different. The core of the school programs is extremely mono-cultural and mono-linguistic. In the proposed programs, there is not a separation between civic universal values and the Italian identity, which is, by the way, proposed as strongly determined by Catholicism. Practically, the problem is not the substitution of intercultural education to civic education, embracing universal human values; it is a reinforcement of mono-culturalism (which was, by the way, already strongly present in the Italian school), including in its regional variation, reinforced ideologically.

The little interest that the Minister has for intercultural education was showed in the case of the Intercultural Portal of the BDP, Library for Pedagogical Documentation.(DESCRIVERE RAPIDAMENTE BDP e INDIRE): the project was not financed any more. (intervistare Maria Ranieri)


Annexe.The Intercultural Centres, Centri interculturali; the Territorial Permanent Centres, CPT, Centri territoriali Permanenti; the IRRE Regional Educational Research Institute, Istituti Regionali Ricerca Educativa

The indications coming from the present Reform are certainly negative for the integration of foreign children in the Italian schools. It is not clear however, what will be the impact at the level of the different schools.

What has been presented in fact as a limit of the national policies, that is the lack of a systematic reception system, of a systematic teaching of the Italian language as L2, of the protection of languages and cultures of origin, can become an advantage, when the directives of the Ministry of Education try to cancel intercultural education from the school programs. In this case, the autonomy of the schools and of the local training agencies can play a positive role to counteract the political approach imposed by Letizia Moratti.

In fact, if the general frame is unsatisfactory, this doesn't mean that interesting experiences have existed and exist, in different schools and areas of the country, both on the school integration level, and on the teaching of the Italian language as L2. To this result, strongly contributed the local, provincial and regional agencies, NGOs and immigrants' associations operating in the territory. Or these experiences are probably going to continue: it seems quite difficult that all the activities that have been done by different education agencies in the field of intercultural education, will be abandoned, because the new Minister doesn't like them! The local authorities are often themselves opposed to the Reform project and they will continue to support the projects, as it is the case, for example, in Tuscany (see Workpackage 4)

The Italian experience is in fact quite paradoxal Until 2001, the Ministry of Education indications and directives promoted integration and intercultural education, while the immigrant and minority children had to face barriers and difficulties in their everyday school-life; only in some situations, good practices were implemented. Since 2001, the Ministry of Education has stopped the promotion of integration and intercultural education, while the good practices that had been realized at local level cannot certainly be stopped and continue to follow the intercultural approach.

Beyond the activities of the single schools, networks have been created that have promoted interesting experiences: among them, the most significant experiences there are certainly the Intercultural Centres ( Centri Interculturali ). They are inter-institutional networks, promoted by local authorities, associations, but sometimes as well by the Education Academies ( Provveditorati ) that depend by the Ministry of Education. The three historical models of the Intercultural Centres have been the Cidiss of Turin (Centro Interculturale Città di Torino), supported by the Town; the Cdlei of Bologna (Centro Documentazione e Laboratorio per una educazione interculturale), created through an agreement between the Academy, the University, the town and the Province; the Centre COME of Milan. The goals of the first centres have been the collection of documents, orientation, teachers'training, networking among the different institutions that work on the territory. Their example has been followed by others, almost exclusively in Northern and Central Italy, like the Centro interculturale millevoci in Trento or the experience of Porto-Franco in Tuscany, which will be largely described in Workpackage 4.

The intercultural centres have become a place of documentation, training, intercultural mediation and, at the same time, of production of didactic materials that represent a fundamental support for all the educators who deal daily with the children from the immigration world. They create and maintain links between the different initiatives in the territory. Financial sources to guarantee their survival and to give them the ability to operate come mostly from local authorities, towns, provinces and regions. Sometimes they get fundings on a European level by participating to the many programmes in the European framework.

The intercultural centres work in synergy with the schools, allowing to keep alive the attention on intercultural themes and making easier the translation into practice of principles stressed in ministerial directives.

The different centres have been created spontaneously, but they have soon felt the need of networking among them. “ The need of models of reference, of telling its own experience, of knowing more and better, of exchanging, creating spaces of documentation, projects and analysis on the topic of reception and interculture; the birth of new intercultural centres in medium and big towns has brought to the organisation of the first National Meeting at the end of the nineties” (1998, Milan, Centro COME) .” (Ferrero-Luatti, 2004, p.356)

To this first meeting, others have followed, in Venezia, Trento, Arezzo, Fano...The centres represent an important point of reference for all the teachers, who are interested in the topic. Particularly in the second meeting, in Venice, in 1999, one of the topic has been the teaching of the second language (L2) and the maintain and developement of the first language (L1).

However, the most important issue today is the teaching of Italian as second language: for this goal, many new didactic tools (even if most of them are still experimental) have been created: in Milan, the Come Centre has created very useful didactic grants; the same has been done in the area of Prato and Florence, where the COSPE of Florence operates, and even in the area of Arezzo where the referent centre is the Documentation Centre of Arezzo ( Centro di Documentazione Città di Arezzo ).

The materials prepared for the teaching of Italian as L2 take into consideration the research results done by University centres specialised on the Italian teaching as a foreign language which, after the rootedness of immigration in the territory, took care of the Italian learning/teaching as second language (the project Alias of Venice University and the materials from the CILS Certification Centre of the Siena Foreign University on which are visible, respectively, http://helios.unive.it/~aliasve// and Barni – Villarini, 2001).

The teaching of Italian as a foreign language concerns as well the immigrant adults, who can study in the Territorial Permanent Centres, Centri Territoriali Permanenti , established by the Ordinanza (TRADURRE) 455 of the Ministry of Education in 1997.

Besides the Intercultural Centres, an important role in the developement of projects of intercultural education has been played by the IRRE Regional Educational Research Institute, Istituti Regionali Ricerca Educativa .

The IRRE have been among the first institutions that have tried to translate into concrete educational practices the principles announced in the Ministry of Education Directives and Memorandums. For example, in 1991, the IRRSAE-Puglia has started an European Project on Intercultural Education, directed by Professor Franca Pinto Minerva of the University of Bari, with “Strategies for the insertion of Albanian pupils in the compulsory school. The project has experienced curricula in the field of language teaching, history, music, religion, geography, multimedia and mathematics. In 1994, it has entered in the network of the SOCRATES program (Comenius 2). Another IRRSAE that has been very active has been the Tuscan one. They have produced different models for intercultural education in teachers training and formed many teachers.