As some 9 million students were
back to their school benches across the country on Monday, a study
warned the risk of educational poverty would loom over the future
of Italy's next generations.
Almost 25 percent of 15-year-old
Italians performed below average in maths and 19.5 percent in
reading in latest international tests (PISA), and such rates would
increase up to 36 percent and 29 percent respectively among pupils
coming from low-income families, according to the study.
"Economic poverty and educational
poverty feed each other, and are transmitted from one generation to
the next," the 'Enlighten the Future 2030' study by Save the
Children charity said.
The study was based on the results
of latest PISA tests, which regularly assess 15-year-olds in key
subjects across 34 countries of the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD).
It also considered Italian Ministry
of Education data, official statistics, plus public consultations
with children and families across the country.
The findings drew wide media
attention especially in the light of a much-discussed school
reform, which was being just implemented with the start of the new
term, and has yet to show its potential impact on the quality of
The study outlined clear targets in
order to halve several factors behind educational poverty before
2020, and to eradicate them by 2030. Yet, its first and foremost
suggestion would be to assess child poverty.
"An action plan against child
poverty is a top priority, and could be approved by the government
even within the next financial law (by the end of the year),"
Raffaela Milano, director of Italy and Europe programs with Save
the Children told Xinhua.
"This is crucial, since child
poverty weighs tremendously on the educational path of
Beside poverty, geographical origin
and gender would also contribute to inequality in education,
according to the study report.
"Undoubtedly, being a female born
from a low-income family in Italy's impoverished southern regions
increases the risk of educational poverty sharply," Milano
"Socio-economic conditions, gender,
and sometime also being a foreign-born student, are all factors
bringing about additional disadvantages that our school system is
not yet able to fill."
Data in the report indeed confirmed
pupils in Southern Italy are more disadvantaged than those in the
North: some 32 percent of females and 28 percent of males in
Southern regions did not reach the minimum skills in maths, against
16 percent and 14 percent of their northern peers,
Such condition should bring the
government to allocate fresh financial resources granted with the
school reform "according to the different regional needs, because
standards are not the same everywhere," the charity's official
Italian schools also showed
"significant flaws in terms of services and extracurricular
educational opportunities" that help pupils to develop their
skills, the study said.
Some 64 percent of pupils overall
do not have daily access to leisure activities, sports, and
cultural projects in school, and this rate reaches its highest
point in Italy's southern regions.
Furthermore, 48.4 percent of
Italian children aged 6-17 did not read any book in the previous
year; 55.2 percent did not visit any museum; and 45.5 percent did
not involve in any sport at all, the report said. Endit