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Deep South. A village of about 5,000 inhabitants located on a hill between the river Crati and the extreme of the Sila Mountains, about 20 km away from the Ionian coast. We are talking about Terranova da Sibari, where there is a separate section of the junior high school of Tarsia.

It looks like one of those places in the hinterland described by Montale, that industrious and dusty Italy left to its own devices. Anything but the education reform: here the Renzi’s “good school” does not exist; anything but “physical education arrives in the primary school thanks to an amendment. Starting from the next academic year, in fact, there will be the presence of graduates in physical education at the elementary school” as stated in the government’s proposal. In Calabria, we are in a place where survival spaces for students and professors are more needed than teaching, otherwise there is the risk of losing a year’s salary for the only reason that you have not locked pupils in a “cage” during the hours of physical education.

In fact, “it happened that, during the physical education hours, in a football match that was taking place in a private land adjacent to the school headquarters, a boy, entrusted to the physical education teacher, fell injuring himself”. The consequences were the complaint of the parents and the compensation imposed on the Ministry of Education. Which obviously asked the money back from the teacher and her headmaster.

The same Ministry that instead for years has not bothered to enable that school to have a decent space where the boys could move. In the teaching programmes physical education is a key point, but the place where it can be taught is left to chance. And exactly by chance the owner of that field just adjacent to the school made it available to the community, letting everyone in without problems.

But we are in Italy, the quibble’s birthplace. And when something happens, someone has to pay and the responsibility always relapses on the ones who count for nothing, who in this case was the gym teacher. Her statement before the Court of Accounts, Judicial Section of Calabria (judgment 117/2015), was not worthwhile. She said that “with the consent of the school directors, for over ten years, the field on which the accident occurred has been used as a football field for the pupils of the school and the same field did not present any safety issue”.

Here’s the paradox: if a teacher forces the students inside their four walls is accused of insensitivity, if he makes the pupils do gymnastics in the classroom, he is ridiculed and criticized (so much so that even in the draft reform it is suggested to eliminate the so-called “henhouse classes”, those with too many pupils in. Let’s imagine if you also make pupils do gymnastics there …), but if she takes them in the only space that has been usable for years she is likely to pay the price of it personally. As well as the school head, for whom it is applied the principle of the failure to control. And so for the judges – and the law – they have to pay “jointly and severally, in favor of the Ministry of Education, Provincial Education Office of Cosenza, the sum of € 24,914.19, plus accessories and court costs.”

All guilty, then, except the Ministry, just the one that should enable state institutions to work efficiently. A slap to any educational logic. And then we talk about “good school” …

Translation provided by Maria Rosaria Mastropaolo

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