2.8.3. District level

The territory of each region is divided into areas called school Districts Distretti scolastici as established by a decree of the Minister of Education on the basis of a proposal from the Regions and after having consulted with the local bodies and the school administration authorities concerned.

The school District (Distretto scolastico) ensures the democratic participation of the local communities and members of society in the life and management of the school itself.

Its function is that of strengthening and developing the educational institutions and the related activities as well as their implementation. Its aim is also to provide for the application of full rights of study, cultural and civic development of the community and to improve school services.

The school District (Distretto scolastico) has administrative autonomy and manages the funds necessary for its operation.

The directive body of the school District is the District Education Council Consiglio scolastico distrettuale .

The District Education Council (Consiglio scolastico distrettuale) is made up of representatives elected by the head teachers of State and private schools working in that area, representatives of the teaching staff, of the parents for all levels of school and of the students in upper secondary schools, representatives of trade unions, of employees and self-employed workers, managers and other people representing economy and culture and expressing the general concerns of the population.

The District Education Council (Consiglio scolastico distrettuale) is mainly responsible for the planning of extra-mural and inter-school activities, for educational and professional guidance, for assistance in the area of school and socio-psychological and pedagogical health, for adult education, for sports and cultural activities in order to use the resources of sites, structures, staff and funds available on the territory to the advantage of the whole population living in the area. As a consequence of these functions, it has to prepare an annual action plan and to put forward concrete implementation proposals to the bodies concerned.

8.1.1.2. Specific Legislative Background

The structure of the Teacher Training Schools Scuole magistrali , for teaching in nursery schools, is based on the Ministry Decree no. 1280 of 1933 that defines the teaching schedules, and on the Ministry Ordinance on qualification examinations esami di abilitazione professionale that indicate the content, see [5.3.2.4.]

The Teacher Training Institutes Istituti magistrali were created in their present form with the Royal Decree no. 1054 of 1923 and subsequent modifications of the programmes and time tables have not made any difference to the curricular structure, except for the addition of classes in psychology, see [5.3.2.4.]

For the degree courses diploma di laurea, see [6.3.3.1.]

8.1.1.6. Programmes, Orientation, Specialisation

In institutions of secondary education for nursery school and primary school teacher training, the coursework provides an area of general culture in which Italian, Latin, a foreign language, history and civics, geography, natural sciences, mathematics and physics are taught, and another area including philosophy, pedagogy and psychology. There is also an educator assigned to the practical training which takes place in local nursery or primary schools. Drawing and physical education are also part of the program, with a view to teaching them at the pre- and primary school level.

Any specialisations for special teaching can be obtained by taking two year specialisation courses after graduation, as for teaching handicapped pupils or teaching in prison schools.

The curricula, courses of study and specialisation of upper secondary school teachers are provided by the degree courses offered by the universities, see [6.3.3.1.3.] and [6.3.3.1.5.]

8.1.1.7. Methods

Leaving the teachers ample freedom of choice, the programmes of the Teacher Training School Scuola magistrale and Teacher Training Institute Istituto magistrale offer the possibility of keeping to a systematic method of problem-solving or following the historical method, presenting the students the history of education and schools and correlating it to the historical evolution of philosophical and pedagogical thought.

The implementation of the programmes for the other disciplines, in addition to those of the philosophical-pedagogical-psychological area, places a great deal of emphasis on subjects and methods that will be necessary to form the professional competence of the future nursery or primary school teachers.

Practical teaching sessions alternate periods of observation of the organisation and work carried out by the class teachers and teaching activities such as the preparation and delivery of lessons or tests and the assessment of a few pupils, under the supervision of the class teacher or of a teaching supervisor.

Discussions on the observations and activities carried out may then continue with the teacher of pedagogy.

For teachers in the upper secondary school, every degree course has its own teaching methods that are specific to the particular area of discipline, see [6.3.3.1.6.]

10.5. Conditions for Admission, Diagnosis, Guidance

Law 104/92 stipulates:

  • 1) that handicapped infants from 0 to 3 years of age must be allowed to attend nursery school;
  • 2) the right to an education is guaranteed to the handicapped person in the sections of nursery school, and in the ordinary classes of schools of every type and level and in the universities.

The Presidential Decree of 1994 establishes the following certification for the identification of handicapped persons:

  • 1) a certificate of handicapped status issued by a specialist or psychologist;
  • 2) a functional diagnosis drawn up by the multidisciplinary unit of the local health authority detailing the functional limits and capabilities of the person;
  • 3) a dynamic-functional profile, drawn up by the same multidisciplinary unit of the local health authority and integrated by the specialised teaching personnel. This profile should indicate the physical, psychological, social and emotional characteristics of the pupil and bring out both the learning difficulties and the possibilities for recuperation as well as the capabilities that have to be sustained and developed;
  • 4) an individual educational plan (PEI) formulated by the personnel of the local health authority and specialised teaching personnel, in collaboration with the parents of the pupil. This plan should outline the progression of educational and didactic activities appropriate to the capacities and limitations of the disabled child.

10.15. Other Organisations and Alternative Structures

Centres that provide accommodation, re-education and insertion of people even with severe disabilities can be set up by private associations, religious orders and parishes. These initiatives may obtain recognition from the regional administration, if consistent with their institutional purposes, and receive services and subsidies or be managed by associations of families that collect the spontaneous donations of private citizens or institutions on a charitable, non-profit basis. These initiatives, often directed toward the recuperation of people with specific types of handicaps, often use particular therapies or teaching methods, controlled only by the health authorities and the police, as the beneficiaries are almost always minor children or disabled adults who are unable to provide for themselves and are therefore subject to guardianship.The education of the families of handicapped persons is provided, for school-age children, by participation in the life of the school, in the class councils and assemblies of parents, and also by the local health authorities that have to count heavily on the collaboration and education of the parents in the rehabilitation and insertion of disabled children. They often hold seminars or provide home visits and assistance so that the parents and other family members can participate with full understanding in the rehabilitation and support of the handicapped person from birth, accompanying their psychological and physical growth with informed awareness.