Pnrr in schools, Minister Bianchi’s response does not convince experts

We are wasting the funds of the National Research Council for schools, we headlined a few days ago on Espresso, denouncing the problem of the first part of the distributed plan, according to the experts we consulted, ignoring the institutes that needed it most. It is the same Minister of Education Patrizio Bianchi who responds with a letter to the public to explain what is happening with the funds of the Pnrr to combat territorial gaps and early school leaving (1.5 billion by 2026 of which, with decree 170 of last June). 24, the first 500 million dedicated to the 12-18 age group were distributed).

As explained in Espresso, the selection of institutions for the allocation of funds was not in all cases a consequence of the real needs of the area: in the metropolitan city of Naples, for example, schools in the difficult neighborhoods of Forcella and Ponticelli were excluded.. The same happened in Bologna where they stayed out of schools in suburban areas such as Barça and Il Pilastro. Or in Palermo where the directors of the Giuliana Saladino and Sperone-Pertini high schools declared: “Paradoxically, we pay for the fact that in recent years we have activated virtuous processes, proving that it is possible to break school evasion with daily commitment. But we still consider it important that the difficult elections of recent years have been recognized by the state to give continuity to action in the area. It is not up to us to enter the assessment of the Ministry of Education, however, we believe that there is an obvious material error. Other reasons would not be understandable.

The case

Therefore, we are wasting PNRR funds for schools

Weather in Chiara Sgreccia

As Marco Rossi Doria, Italy’s first street teacher and member of the expert working group convened by the Ministry of Education to define the modalities of action against early school leaving, had already explained: “This has happened because s “have simplified too many criteria in the identification of schools”. While the other problem is that decree 170 does not specify the parameters that the institutions will have to respect in order to receive the funds. In the letter, the minister writes that the guidelines are in place and that these will be based on the indications developed by the expert group. That, in the meantime, responds by making public the document prepared to combat failure and educational gaps, delivered in May to the Ministry of Education.

The point is that if Italy intends to combat early school leaving in a concrete and permanent way and increase the education of young people, structural reforms must be initiated. It is not enough to give money to schools. That is why, in agreement with the European Union, the Recovery and Resilience Plan was drawn up: to give the initial and fundamental impetus to the implementation of new public policies capable of modifying situations that did not work for many years. . In various sectors, including training, in order to ensure equal access to education for all. At the moment, the foundations for defining effective programming are lacking.

There is a lack of disaggregated Istat data that is used to identify who students are to follow, where they are and how to get there.. That is why – in addition to some criteria that have been given less weight than others (such as unemployment with respect to the number of students enrolled) – there are centers that have been excluded from the allocation of funds still that they would have needed this. But since October 2021, when the technical instructions for the selection of Pnrr projects were defined, time has passed.

This opportunity could have served to understand how to process the data we need and have it available as necessary parameters to initiate measures capable of effectively reducing territorial gaps and combating early school leaving. An analysis that should have been done upstream, which would certainly have required more work and commitment than usual, but which would have made it possible not to approach the deadlines set by the EU in a hurry and uncertainty about the actual effectiveness of the plan. .

“It will not be this plan alone that will intervene to counteract the phenomenon of dispersion that, given its complexity, must be addressed with all the interventions of the PNR. We have a precise program “, writes Bianchi in the letter.

Then, perhaps, the time has come when the program, the foundations on which the guidelines with which schools can use the funds will be based, and what tools will be used to create what the counselor calls “educating ”. communities ”, founded on the alliance to the territory between schools and entities of the third sector, are clarified. To prevent what happened with the disbursement of the first stretch of fund from happening again.

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