The flight of the Finns and the Sicilian school. The reactions

The story of the Finnish family who had decided to move to Sicily has aroused an avalanche of reactions then she ran away for the quality of the school system.

The mother of 4 had decided to move to Syracuse last August. Soon, however, she realized that the Italian school system is totally different from the one experienced so far, so after just two months of Sicilian life and classroom lessons, the family decided to leave.
The mother thus wrote a letter in which she accused the Sicilian school. Chaos in the classroom from the very first day, children yelling “and banging on the table”, teachers who do not know English, angry and contemptuous teachers with dubious pedagogical preparation, children closed in the classroom, without breaks in the open air, no games in the school garden. All this, and more, for the Finnish mother was the Sicilian school. Hence the decision to leave.

Obviously there were many reactions,
especially in the world of education, among those who agree with women by condemning a static school system that hangs on the program, and those who instead defend Italian teachers, and Sicilians in particular, who with little means do what they can to educate our students. The debate has also moved to the resources that are put in place in our country for schools.

Speaking of funds, the situation is a bit complex, as usual. Because according to data, Italy is among the worst countries in Europe with just 3.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) destined for education and training, against a European average of 4.7 percent. And Finland is among the best: the country of the family “escaped from Sicily” devotes 5.6 percent of its GDP to education and training. Using this parameter, Sicily would therefore be at the level of the best European countries, and certainly better than Finland: the percentage share of GDP – equal to around 90 billion euros in 2019 – dedicated to education on the island is in fact equal to 6 .1 per cent, or 5.5 billion euros. The accounts change if per capita expenditure is taken into consideration. In the latter case, spending has dropped significantly in Sicily in recent years.

Among the first reactions those of mayor of Syracuse, Francesco Italia: “ It is clear that Finland has different demographic, social and cultural characteristics and their school system is calibrated on their peculiarities, it is not certain that they are all replicable in Italy. In these years of administrative experience, I have met passionate managers and teachers, who are strongly determined to make a difference for their pupils by replacing and making up for families in many cases. In the system in which they are inserted, the teachers, in Syracuse as in the rest of Italy, work wonders with ridiculous salaries and the governments should invest much more in the school, offering full-time in primary school, and enhancing the continuous training of teachers and personal”

Always interesting in his comments journalist Gery Palazzotto: “We islanders are used to being told that nothing works here, which is sadly true. But there’s something irritating about this little open-letter lesson to a local site. In other words, the arrogance with which a person who has spontaneously come from abroad decides to disappoint himself for not having found the model and social codes from which he has spontaneously distanced himself. The most annoying suspicion, at least for me, is that the lady had chosen for clichés: Sicily, heat, sea, food, folklore. Maybe even a mafia tour, if it escapes us”. It’s still: “I am an enemy of Sicilian inefficiency, I have never believed in the “wonderful” specificity of our being islanders, I am allergic to the flamboyant and pathetic triumph of the Sicilian style.
But I would like to say one thing to the lady in question: there was no need to simulate a fall from the pear tree to be scandalized that one can fall from the pear tree. Commonplace for commonplace: Finns, how boring”.

The actor, director and teacher from Marsala Maximum Shepherd defends the world of teachers and school staff. ” In this panorama of bleak political and cultural myopia of our governments, there are also us teachers who, together with the managers and ATA staff, day after day, try to take on the responsibility of leading our pupils on the arduous path of growth , the assumption of responsibilities, the acquisition of skills to become aware citizens and participants in the civil and democratic life of a nation. We often do it in silence, amid a thousand structural and organizational difficulties, in old, dark buildings, without hot water in the bathrooms for the children, without paper for photocopies (other than a laptop for each student!)”. “We’re light years behind Finland, it’s true – continues Pastore. I myself try, in my small daily work, to take inspiration from their methods and their innovations, but it is also true that, outside the classrooms, everything in our area seems to clash with the best “inputs” that we try to provide to pupils: from good practices of responsible citizens to the principles of equality and solidarity; from the love of truth and justice to the right to cultivate one’s talents”.

The reactions on social media are endless.
There are those who argue that “the poor quality of the school is due to the political class that uses the school as a pool of votes, promising everything”.
Who is not there to make a bundle of all the grass because “it is an insult to all the trained teachers who are in the South”. And here there is also the issue of emigration, of the many who go to teach in the schools of Northern Italy.
There are those who examine the Italian school system in this way: “In Italy, if kids fail, it’s because they are listless or don’t want to… it’s their failure.!
Abroad, if the students do not achieve the expected results, it is a failure of the school!”.

What is certain is that this letter, this controversy, has reopened, as happens cyclically, always open wounds that concern our being, often, compliant with ourselves. There is no right or wrong version. But different nuances, and we Sicilians are good at transforming, analyzing, “masking” even the smallest nuances of a problem.

The flight of the Finns and the Sicilian school. The reactions