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Italy's education responses to the influx of Ukrainian students

The Ministry of Education and educational institutions of the national education system are planning to provide all the support and assistance necessary to receive Ukrainian school-age refugees. The MoE website has published on 24 March 2022 a list of education guidelines, recommendations on the reception of Ukrainian students, overview of the Ukrainian education system as well as a wealth of teaching and learning resources.

Basic Education  

In recent statements on the reception of Ukrainian refugee students in the education system, the MoE specifies three distinct time frames for the action of schools:  

  • First phase of "slow time for welcoming": Focus primarily on the re-composition of socialisation groups, acquisition of communication skills in Italian, trauma mitigation and to the extent possible, continuity of learning up to the end of the current school year. 

  • Second phase of "consolidation and strengthening": Deliver support in collaboration with the territorial communities during the summer period. 

  • Third phase of "school integration": Employ diverse and contextualised methods for integration the academic year 2022/2023. 

Language constitutes the first obstacle to the reception, support and socialisation of Ukrainian students at Italian schools. The regional school offices will, through their territorial offices, facilitate the use of linguistic and cultural mediators to support school staff in the process of interaction and interpersonal communication with students.  

The MoE stresses that an inclusive educational path that does not necessarily entail assimilation, given that many of the incoming Ukrainian are not looking for a new homeland but yearning to return and rebuild their country. Therefore the MoE also encourages organizing additional classes following the Ukrainian education curriculum, using the distance learning digital platform of the Ukrainian MoE, together with cultural mediators or Ukrainian teachers as identified by local authorities.  

Vocational Training 

Where possible, the provision of vocational training and adult learning courses could be offered to Ukrainian refugees. The Provincial Centres for Adult Education will facilitate the Italian languages classes for those needing to join vocational and adult learning trainings.  

The Government encourages peer education and peer-to-peer sharing of best practices among teachers and schools as well as using bilingual or mother-tongue learning material. Schools are also expected to use pedagogical and expressive tools available to help alleviate trauma of the Ukrainian students, spread the “seeds of peace” in the minds of all students and forbid any kind of expression of hatred, including towards the Russian population.  

To support the schools significantly involved in reception and integration of Ukrainian students, the MoE has prepared an initial allocation of €1 million which will be used to provide bilingual learning materials, linguistic and cultural mediation and psychological support. Given the current uncertainty in distribution of arrivals across the national territory, this allocation will be managed by the central administration on the basis of the needs of the territorial school offices.

The EU issued operational guidelines for the implementation of Council implementing Decision 2022/382, establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine within the meaning of Article 5 of Directive 2001/55/EC, and having the effect of introducing temporary protection (2022/C 126 I/01). As such, EU Member States shall grant access to their education system to persons under 18 years old enjoying the temporary protection status under the same conditions as their own nationals and EU citizens.

Bibliography

Government sources:

“Ucraina, la scuola si prepara ad accogliere studentesse e studenti Bianchi: ‘Costruiamo la pace attraverso la solidarietà e l’inclusione’. Inviata la nota con le prime indicazioni. Subito 1 milione a disposizione degli Istituti scolastici.” Ministero Dell'Istruzione, Italia. Accessed March 22, 2022. Source

"Sono 59.589 I Profughi Giunti Finora in Italia Dall'Ucraina." Ministero Dell‘Interno, Italia. Accessed March 22, 2022. Source

“Profughi dall'Ucraina: 76.847 le persone arrivate finora in Italia.” Ministero Dell‘Interno, Italia. Accessed March 30, 2022. Source

“Oggetto: Accoglienza scolastica degli studenti ucraini esuli. Prime indicazioni e risorse.” Ministero Dell‘Istruzione, Italia. Accessed March 3, 2022. Source

“Studenti profughi dall'Ucraina”. Ministero Dell‘Istruzione, Italia. Accessed March 24, 2022. Source

“Spunti per la riflessione pedagogica e didattica”. Ministero Dell‘Istruzione, Italia. Dated March 24,2022. Source

“Oggetto: Studenti profughi dall’Ucraina. Contributi alla riflessione pedagogica e didattica delle scuole”. Ministero Dell’Istruzione. Accessed April 5, 2022. Source

“Studenti profughi dall’Ucraina. Prima (provisoria) sitografia”. Ministero Dell‘Istruzione, Italia. Dated March 24, 2022. Source

Other sources:

"Italian School Gives Heartwarming Welcome To Ukrainian Refugee Children." Forbes. Accessed March 22, 2022. Source