From Competences to Work. Some Remarks on Italian Educational Policies in the Age of Neoliberalism

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:40
Oral Presentation
Elena GREMIGNI, University of Pisa, Italy
Since the mid-nineties, the European Union has promoted a new form of didactics aimed at developing competences, in order to promote a system of comparable evaluations and certifications across Europe. Afterwards, the European Council explicitly recognised the need to specify new basic competences to be provided through lifelong learning as the essential response to the shift to knowledge-based economies. These key competences are defined as fundamental for Europe’s response to globalisation and their tight link with a neoliberal perspective of the work world, which can also be deduced from the non-random choice of the term “competence”, is evident.

Italy has implemented these guidelines, promoting the school-work alternating training as an educational tool. Nevertheless, this seems mainly aimed at having students acquire the certification of competences that can be used in the labour market.

Law no. 107/15, in particular, requires the school-work alternating training to be implemented in all classes of the last three years for at least 400 hours in technical and vocational high schools, and for at least 200 hours in lyceums. The diversification in the number of hours of school-work alternating training, apparently founded on the ground that lyceums have a more theoretical leaning than technical and vocational high schools, reveals that the educational aspect of the work experience is considered secondary to what appears instead to all effects a training activity .

Furthermore, this pathway comes to frequently represent a fragmentary and sporadic experience that on the one hand the students generally enjoy doing but on the other hand often takes time away from the basic preparation. The consequent impact on the curriculum lets us presume that students of technical and vocational schools will have less and less opportunities to undertake graduate studies, and will be used more and more like "cogs" of the global labour market.