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Better than we thought, but still far behind those of the most important European countries. From the School Building Register submitted yesterday by the Ministry of Education, come out contrasting data  about the conditions of the buildings where millions of students go every day in order to build their future. The first good news is the fact that the report itself has been issued, implementing thus, almost 20 years later, the 1996 law it was planned by. The other news is that 100% of the schools are safe, as it was guaranteed by the minister Stefania Giannini who has mentioned a “huge step forward” done by Italy on this matter. “Due to the register we know now what the conditions of the buildings are – has stressed the head of the Ministry of Education – and we have the tools to intervene progressively”. The ‘photograph’ taken by the ministerial team says that in Italy there are, in sum,  42.292 school buildings, 33.825 of which are active and 8.450 – inactive (where no activities take place). Most of them (55%), however, were built before 1976 and many of them have not provided certificates required to prove the safety of the buildings.

SURVEYED SCHOOLS  – Lombardy is the region with the overall largest number of buildings (5.964 ), but also of active ones (5.532). While in Lazio their number amounts to 4.345 , but that of the functioning ones is only 2.423. Instead, in Piedmont for instance, out of a total number of 3.115 buildings, 3.112 are functioning, that is almost all of them. 17 buildings have become impracticable because of natural disasters.

OWNERS – 77% of Italian schools belong to Municipalities, whereas 9%  – to Provinces. Only 2% is property of another public institution, and 2% are private.

HALF OF THEM ARE MORE THAN 50 YEARS OLD – the most preoccupying data concern the age of the structures. Half of them were built before 1976 and 50% even before 1971, the year when the legislation on static testing of the buildings entered into force. Therefore, only 49% have a static test certificate and 45% have not been able to show a certificate of use and occupancy.

SECURITY FUNDS – Giannini has confirmed the financial commitment, that had been already announced by Matteo Renzi, for securing school buildings. Those resources will allow 3.500 interventions, that have already begun or will begin in 2016. To conclude the interventions, according to the minister, ”several years” will be needed.

SCHOOL BUSES NOT FOR EVERYONE – Connection between houses and schools is guaranteed, in 63% of the cases, by a school bus.  In 67% of the cases there is some kind of public transport nearby the school building. Yet, only 40% of the buildings dispose of a service reserved to disabled students. Besides, 29% of the structures do not meet the standards concerning architectural barriers. Hence, accessibility for students and teachers with disabilities remains precarious. 42%, finally, are not in line with the recent regulations on energy consumption.

CONTROLS AND NEW CONSTRUCTIONS – Yesterday the minister signed two decrees. The first one earmarks 40 million euros ( from the ”Good School” ‘Buona scuola’ law) to carry out investigations on the attics of about 7.000 school buildings, that are exposed to higher risks due to the used material. The second one concerns the construction of thirty schools that are going to be innovative from the point of view of architecture, plants, technology, energy efficiency, and structural and earthquake safety, for which 300 million euros have been allocated from Inail (the National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work) funds.

Translated by Ecaterina Severin

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