Elementary: physical education becomes compulsory, but there is no money for teachers and gyms | Milena Gabanelli

Our children had been waiting for it for 66 years, since the Moro Reform of 1958. In September, gymnastics finally arrived in Italian elementary schools, in the only European nation that did not foresee it in the crucial age for physical training, that between 6 and 11 years old. The European average of 75 hours per school year, with some differences: it ranges from 45 hours in Bulgaria to 108 in France. From this year, therefore, the compulsory subject is no longer entrusted to the good will of the teachers or to external experts paid by the families, and only where there is a gym. But between saying and doing …

In the implementing decree of April, which introduces the obligation, the money has disappeared

The final text reads: money must be found at the limit of the financial and instrumental resources available under current legislation as well as those of personnel. Translation: make do with what you have. To move forward with few resources, Miur and Governo they decided: we start only in the 24,500 fifth grade classes. The fourth will be talked about next year, thirds, second and first still later. We would have liked to find the money with the next budget – explains the Undersecretary Vezzali – now the task will be entrusted to the new government: with this initiative we have broken a cultural barrier. First of all, the barrier is economic and you have to find shortcuts to save. Broken barrier, shortcuts to save: according to the law, the hours of physical education in elementary school should not necessarily be the two compulsory hours in middle school or high school, but at most two in order to authorize school managers to even make one.

It starts without competition

The law requires the use of specialized teachers. Stop since State Council to graduates Isef who have not integrated their studies with the master’s degree, green light only to those who have studied Exercise Sciences and boasts in the curriculum of pedagogical credits: teaching children, they tell the Ministry, not how to do it with teenagers or young adults. In April, the government announced a competition to enable over two thousand specialized teachersbut the announcement never came out, there is no trace of funding and therefore the managers will have to fish for 2,247 professors necessary for 2022/2023 in the rankings of non-permanent ones (including Isef non-specialized graduates) or among those assigned to support. Which are already few.

Interlocking of places and times

The logistical problems are not small. The first that in the 15 thousand Italian classes where the bell rings at 2 pm, gymnastics must necessarily be done outside the curricular time, providing at least one return to school in the afternoon with all the problems of transport, canteen or supervision of the children and without the precious collaboration of the teacher. Schools wishing to insert it in the morning will still have to organize the return to complete the timetable. The demographic decrease, then, means that in many elementary schools there are only one or two fifth grades, this means that in order to reach the minimum 18 hours of work that a teacher usually achieves in a single institute, the motor one will have to move between many different complexes. Or different municipalities, because then there are the 7,000 small schools since Miurwhere there is only one section, and the 1,400 multiclasses scattered in the most isolated locations. In these classes 4 and 5 they teach in the same classroom, and for this year they will have to be separated in gymnastics hours.

Two out of ten schools have a gym

Gymnastics, as is well known, is done in the gym. According to the latest Openpolis Report (on Istat data, September 2020) only 40.8 percent of Italian schools have a gym . But going down to elementary school the percentage drops: 20.5% in Calabria26.1% in Campania31.8% in Umbria. It goes better in Friuli Venezia Giulia (57.8%), in Piedmont (51%). Big cities like Turin, Florence or Trieste, where 70% of schools have a structure, but when you move to the suburbs and the province the percentage is just above zero.

In the end, the national average is this: two out of ten elementary schools have a gym, those of the Comprehensive Institutes

It is therefore the school offices that have to contact the municipalities to find suitable spaces near the school. A complicated undertaking, also because they have to be equipped.

What comes from the Pnrr

According to the latest Active Citizenship report, school gyms are not doing well: 37% present moldsAnd infiltrationsmore than one in four (28%) has detachment of plaster. And cleaning is in short supply: dust (29%), dirt (25%) e bad smells (21%). The government claims to have well in mind the problems of school sports structures and to have buffered them with the new Resilience Plan (2021) by providing 330 million euros to refurbish or secure degraded school facilities, demolish dilapidated ones and build new ones for a total of at least 230,400 square meters. An unbalanced plan towards four southern regions (Campania, Sicily, Basilicata, Calabria) where the infrastructure situation is disastrous. At the end of the call – Minister Vezzali declares – we received requests for over two billion and 800 thousand euros: a figure nine times higher than the available funds.

Of the 95 requests for funding from Laziofor example, only six were admitted, of which three with reserve, also in Lombardy they have only been financed six on nearly 150. In conclusion, the gymnastics hour finally mandatory, but the gyms only for a few. And a few good ones. It is difficult for schools, already forced to ask their parents for money for toilet paper, to find the money to redo the electrical system or the roof in danger. from a gym.

5 October 2022 | 07:32


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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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