Four squares metres of plaster, mixed with pieces of debris, and the collapse where two pupils attending the “Enrico Pessina” elementary school in Ostuni, in second form E, were injured. The news of the escaped tragedy monopolised al front news headlines, radio and TV; the government has promised to intervene immediately, the political circles pretend knowing who is responsible and has requested detailed enquiries to be carried out, which have led to outbursts of political controversies once again. Nevertheless, beyond any slogans on a ‘Good School’ the truth is that the sector has been totally neglected, plunged in problems which have since not been tackled by anyone and wrapped around by a mantle of general hyocrisy. Not only because governments of whatever poitical wing they have been, have for ages no longer invested on education, just doing mock up operations, but also because allo f them-whether right, left or centre-make out as though they are oblivious to what is actually going on in Italian schools.
The classrooms are paint-brushed again by the parents of pupils, the school-furniture cahnged and arranged in the same manner; mums and dads are often requested to even bring toilet-paper or a small bottle of water, stationery is paid by the families, who contribute donating large amounts in cash when they go on an outing to to the theatre rather than going to the park. In short , school autonomy is none other than just a good lexical exercise. The Italian system depends on families also for just the plain and simple facilities, seeing that the state canot offer to supplì any assistance worthy of this name.
In circumstances described as these, it would be quite difficult to conceive how the buildings could be attended to for maintenance punctually, as regards to their stability, falling plasters, inaccurate finishings, rapid heat-loss. All these unfortunately are aspects that the majority of Italian pupils from nursery right through to high school have to deal with.
The paradox is that the school where the episode took place, had recently undergone structural restoration; but the entrusted of the company that had carried out the work had already declared that thier intervention did not concern a structural intervention, but was simply a temporary superficial arranagement. This is the reason why the last adjective which better singles out the complete attitude of political circles towards the sector. However, when something does happen, all are willing to denounce the inadequacy in the system which is perfectly known to all. And when the circumstances turn out to be mournful, there we have a nice tricolour sash to prove to us that the institutions are close to us. By so doing, they get just the opposite effect.
Episodes like those that have occurred in the USA (almost simultaneously to Ostuni) where a person was killed during a shooting in a public library of Wayne Community College of Goldsboro, in North Carolina, which immediately acquits uso f our reponsability. In our schools gun-shots are not fired….This i san ephimeral consolation, here our children risk dying for even less.
Translation provided by Marina Stronati