Really! C’mon people, don’t be so difficult, just take the chance and do something, learn something! …spoiled little brats!
That was my thought when seeing the protest, organized by the Students’ Union, against the Project Alternanza Scuola-Lavoro.
But… I was born in a culture of scarcity and anything which looked like a possibility to do something, it did not matter if it is for money or not, anything that would need my presence and my creativity, would have been more than welcome.
It would have meant a step forward. A movement, at least.
But now I am here in Italy listening to these young voices going out in the streets, marching against this possibility because, according to them, they are not to be used and not get paid. Because they are students.
Hmm, I wonder what could that mean.
I guess what they are saying is that they can do something else with their time by using their trained minds, that they are qualified to do something more difficult than sweeping the floors and making coffee. That is how I understand their protest and I see the point but I also believe that for them, inexperienced young hiper wired brains, it is a chance to get their hands dirty. Which can be fun.
Is there something I could learn from them?
I will think about it.
Let’s look a little deeper into the situation. This is Part 2, continuation of my glimpse into the backstage of the Italian work(less) market.
The topic is too wide and too deep too painful, for me to analyze in its entirety. I chose the most painful and sensitive parts- women and youngsters.
Part 2- The Italian level
As previously seen, OSCE created a strategy, after having evaluated the state of the affairs in Italy, regarding the job market. It was established: the main problem is the low rate of competency and skills unbalance.
As a way to bridge the gap between the request for competent workers and the offer of these competent people, the Italian government implemented in 2015 a project, Alternanza Scuola- Lavoro. This project is supposed to help the students to get in touch with the work market, to get a taste, practice the theory.
The young Italian generation is also known as The Not engaged in Education, Employment or Training – the NEETs. If I would be one of them I would take any chance to save my skin without relying on parents, drugs, alcohol or any other reality blurring strategies.
Let’s see the official proposal.
The officials see it this way:
Alternanza Scuola- Lavoro is not supposed to be an occasional experience where the young could use their knowledge from school, but it is intended to be a real training period. It should be considered part of the educational plan proposed by the school.
A change is needed, from the traditional teaching methodology. That is, to teach young people (15-18) with the intention of knowing, away from a disciplinary education. To pass from theory to practice,to knowledge which is proven while doing something practical.
And that is the purpose of the project. Which according to me is great.
The officials also claim to favour, through this initiative, the inclusion of all students, at the same time, linking the theory received in the class to the requests of the work market.
Which is again great. Let’s do that!, I would say.
The alternative training could be done after class, fitting into the program. It can also be done outside Italy.
This point is not clear, I would also point out.
The officials say that it is important to take into account the main objectives of the project, while creating the plan and putting it into action. I am (have been) citing from the information I found here and here :
–the performance- what the student should be able to do after the training
–the conditions/environment– the context, the place where the students should perform. This might be very different from the usual class environment. The students should be able to self organize.
–the evaluation– the parameters which are going to determine if the presentation was acceptable
The documents go on mentioning that these are only guideline, that the process would be better thought and personalized for each student. Each student taking part would have a tutor at the school and one inside the company where he/she will be training. It also says that they all should collaborate and find the best time, duration, method.
Having this liberty to create is great, but…if you go a minute longer into it, you start thinking, you as a teacher, tutor and parent-how that hell is this going to work?
I guess this is when the official side lost credibility. Everybody in the country started doing how they thought best. That is why the students went out into the streets protesting.
One student wrote an article which gives me more details on the students’ view.
She says that this is “a chaotic law, somewhat unclear in regards to some points, but anyway a law. The law says that high-school students, for example, will have to do from now on 200 hours of alternative activities, as an obligatory part the school training.”
She goes on in asking a very pertinent question: “What is Alternanza Scuola- Lavoro?”
“Nobody knows exactly” she says.
What I find intriguing is her statement regarding Work:
“Work, until a while ago, contained dignity. Capacity. Knowledge. Pride. Support.Welfare.Rights.Money. Probably many other things, but I was born in 1999 and I write as I heard saying. Forgive me if you wish.”
I see this statement important because it might be a cry for help, for being taken in consideration, listened to, for being seen, understood and given the right opportunities, in accordance to what the mindset of these young people is.
In an article Francesca Picci, the leader of the Students’ Union is saying this project is teaching them to be:” free work force in the hands of the companies”. In this way Italy becomes the republic of trainees, because the time spent inside the companies serves to nothing or very little. What serves making coffee or photocopies? Orwhat serves caring chez logs around, under the burning sun!?
Oh , that must be a high toll for you guys… I say, sarcastically of course.
After some time of coffee making the Students’ Union came up with a proposal. A few changes to be applied to the initial Alternanza Scuola-Lavoro. They call it “Diritti non piegati” Which would be “Unbent rights”, respected rights.
The tone of the document, I find, it a little bit too dramatic. As if the students were violated or harassed by such activities. I do understand that their expectations were not met when asked to do coffee BUT hey, one can not expect to be made CEO the next day.
I mean, what the hell, people, what did you expect?! It is already a chance to be there, inside the company, observing how the things are done and coming up with something better after. There are people working for years and years and they do not pretend to be excused from doing such mundane things as photocopying something, if needed.
Of course, the students, the Students’ Union, the teachers they know better, but as an outsiders I am saying, it is normal that a law, which is completely new, done by confused people, in a confused country to not hit home from the beginning. Proposing solutions or other ways to do it, I find very good and again, normal. It is a working together thing.
I found some interesting statistics. 4000 high school students answered some questions regarding this:
-48% find the experience they had positive.
-33% is very critical in regards,
-half of them were content with the organisation their school put into place, only 15% of them liked the participation, the “behavior” of the companies.
-27% of the participating students said that their activities were correlated to their studies.
So, what hurts the students most is that they were not included in the real workflow but asked to do manual, unqualified work.
The minister of education, Valeria Fedeli says that: “There are true things that the students are refering to, because of this is needed to monitorize the quality of the projects.” She is also informing that the issue will be discussed in December with the official representatives.
To sweeten up the situation here is a video done with, the good, intention of informing the students about the possibility to get involved anyways.
A kind of, com’on, get yourself a little dirty, you clever little high school scientists!
My version 🙂
Next I want to refer to another report: Preventing the Ageing Inequality, freshly published (18.10.2017) by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) .
This one is giving a new depressing high to the situation. I will present a few facts, as seen in the Italian press.
Regarding youth the report has quite striking data:
-the Italian youngsters are leaving their parents’ house quite late, about 31-32, that is when they start making their own children. They are 10 year late in respect to the EU average, which is 26, according to the Survey on social development in Europe 2017 published by the European Commission.
-in 2050 Italy will the the third country in terms of old age.The most old people will live here.
-the unemployment rate grew between 2000 and 2016, for the 55- 64 years old people with 23%, with 1% for those of 54-25 years, and it lowered by 11% for the young ,18-24 years old. This category of the population has the most difficulties to find a job and if they do, they must accept very atypical contracts.
-the poverty rate of the young population grew while the one of the old people lowered.
Italy seems to be a country where being old is cool, right?
That is why the badanda’s business is blossoming day by day. This is why Moldovan and Romanian women choose to bury their lives here.
Is this going to be my destiny as well?!
-In Italy women get 20% less in salary, comparing to how much men are getting. They are also very often forced to leave the job and become “family assistants” , as we saw in Part 1. (Who forces them?!) 13% of over 50 years old, to be more precise.
-a very deep gap in Italy is between higher and not so highly educated people.Only 40 % of men and 50 % of women. One of the lowest percentage among the OECD countries.
-the employment rate of the higher educated people is of 78%, while the rate of those without higher education is of 34%, 10 points less to the OECD average.
The reports underline the importance of getting an education under your belt. Those who don’t have it in Italy will have a very difficult time ensuring a pensione in the future, women being most often the ones who have the “honour” of leaving work as to take care of their old moms and dads.
To end in a sadly sarcastic way: why don’t they call Moldova or Romania?
I am sure that we can squeeze some more hard working women out of there, to spread into Italian homes, on the Italian terraces, on the Italian streets walking and propping your dear old, rich and lonely Italian moms and dads.
Who cares about Moldovan and Romanian kids left alone?
Who cares about dear old, poor and lonely Moldovan and Romanian moms and dads?
In conclusion to Part 2, I have to say that the situation, as presented by statistics, as seen by the Italian press, the Italian students, is fucking depressing.
It is confusing.
Even if there are positive actions taken, what I hear talked about is how Italy is drowning in it’s own shit.
Ha! I am part of it now. What can I do to help?!
How can I get out of shit? I come out of a lot of shit. But very few saw it like so. I have lived through Moldovan school days, when we were sent to pick up grapes, classwise, tractor wise, having to do a specific norm of kg per day.
Nobody complained about being students, getting our hands, clothes, boots, faces dirty and carrying heavy containers around all day.
Why? Should’ve we?
I am not sure. It was an interesting part of our normal, shitty lives.
Next time I will come up with my view, from the streets…