At the end of June the Ministry of Education issued the decree setting out the rules for the implementation of that article of the Budget Law for 2021 that provided for the realization of “mandatory training interventions of teaching staff engaged in classes with pupils with disabilities”. The Observatory School of AIPD examines the various parts and also problems, considering in each case, “a good start to the teacher training curricula, especially those of the secondary schools,” The Ministry of Education has issued on the 21st of June last, when the Decree 188/21, consisting of only four articles laying down the rules for the implementation of article 1, section 961 of the Law 178/20 (the Law on the Budget for the 2021), which involved the construction of “interventions for mandatory training of the teaching staff involved in classes with students with disabilities, the principle of co-ownership in the care of the pupil himself”, as well as”the Prohibition of exemption from teaching, the allocation criteria, the conditions for reserving training only to staff not holding the certificate of specialization on support”.
The Preamble of the aforementioned decree refers precisely to the rules relating to the obligation of in-service training on school inclusion, in addition to reporting on the opinion issued by the Ministerial Observatory on inclusion and to acknowledge the information produced towards trade unions.
Article 1 states that: “1. Pursuant to article 1, section 961 of the law 30 December 2020, n. 178, this decree regulates the procedures for the implementation of the interventions of the compulsory training of the teaching staff involved in classes with students with disabilities for the school year 2021/2022, aimed at the inclusion of students with disabilities, and to ensure the principle of co-ownership of the loading of the pupil. 2. The measures referred to in paragraph 1 are divided into learning units, with a total commitment of 25 hours, which may be developed in:. training in the presence and/or at a distance, b. didactic experimentation documented and action research, c. work in the network, d. deepening personal and collegial, and. the documentation and forms of returning/reporting, f. design. For each training unit it will be necessary to guarantee a minimum of 17 hours of training in presence and/or at a distance (point A) and 8 hours of In-Depth Studies, in the manner referred to in points B) to f). 3. The training activities referred to in this decree will be the subject of operational indications to the schools-Centers for training by the General Directorate for school personnel and the General Directorate for the student, inclusion and school orientation”.
Article 2 then specifies the addressees: “1. The training activities referred to in Article 1 shall be intended for teaching staff engaged in classes with pupils with disabilities who do not hold the support specialisation certificate. 2. The regional technical-scientific committees, referred to in Article 4, established by decree of the directors general and the directors in charge of the direction of the regional school offices, will evaluate flexibility and modularization of the routes on the basis of the skills of the students. 3. Participation in training activities is mandatory and does not include exemption from the service. 4. The performance of the training activities is attested by the head teacher of the school headquarters”.
Moreover, Article 3 stipulates that the financial resources will be allocated to Regional School offices in proportion to the number of teachers without specialisation qualifications who deal with school inclusion, on the basis of the information system.
Finally, Article 4 reads: “1. The qualitative monitoring of the training courses is carried out with provisions provided by the General Directorate for student, inclusion and school guidance, at which a National Technical-Scientific Committee is formed, for the coordination and support of the activities referred to in this decree. 2. The scientific and technical Committee of the national referred to in paragraph 1, the work in connection with the regional school Offices, which are made of special Committees, the scientific-technical regional, with the participation of school Leaders, School-centre for training, relying on the support of the Interinstitutional Working Groups Regional (GLIR) referred to in article 15, paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of the act of 5 February 1992, n° 104”.
This Decree was strongly supported by the Associations of the Observatory Ministerial Standing on the Inclusion, of which the AIPD (Italian Association of People with Down’s syndrome) is part from the participating Associations of the FISH (the Italian Federation for Overcoming Handicaps), which have obtained, at the meeting of the same, strong changes to the initial draft that included many of the 25 hours required intended only for “personal study” and there is no reference to “experimentation” and “programming”.
For these reasons, it had been observed, in the headquarters of the Observatory, which, apart from the number of hours to be devoted to experimentation and action research, none of the content of the training agreed during the meeting of the Observatory itself, of 23 march, between the Ministry, Associations and SIPES (the Italian Society of Special education), was explicitly formalized.
It is true that in paragraph 3 of article 1 of the Decree, it is written that will be sent in the “operational guidance to Schools-centre for training by the Directorate-general for the school staff and the Directorate-general for the student, the inclusion and school orientation” (whose leaders will also be part of the constituting Committees of Technical and Scientific at the Offices of the Regional School, which will have the execution of the Decree), but if the content of the training had been agreed upon by the three subjects above in the aforementioned meeting of the Observatory, what need was there to send, Who knows when, the foretold indications? It is therefore necessary to request that they be immediately sent to the competent offices, in particular by the General Directorate for the student.
Specifically, they concerned:
° Joint training “for the taking in charge the town” by the Council of the Class, of family, of community health and, in secondary schools of the second degree, also of students, on how it should be read for the Functional Diagnosis of the pupil (which will soon be replaced by the Profile Function), and how to set jointly an IEP (Individual Educational programme), how should this be done, as currency, and as you change, as a result of the observations found.
° In addition, SIPES had stressed the need for local working groups-referred to in the Ministerial Decree as “technical-scientific committees to be set up at Regional School offices” – to be coordinated by a university teacher with experience in the training of specialisation courses on support or with other specific experience.
There is currently no trace of all this in the decree and it must therefore be reiterated the request that this be made explicit with the utmost urgency to the Polo-schools, before everyone does on their own, greatly reducing the importance of this interesting measure.
Many criticisms have been raised of the same decree, especially by the unions, who have complained about the lack of” bargaining “(instead of mere” information”) on the planned training activities, as well as” the Prohibition of exemption from teaching ” for the target teachers.
It is to be believed that if these criticisms are justified, anyone who has an interest can promote, incidentally, the question of constitutional illegitimacy of these aspects contained in the budget law, expressly stated above. Decree 188/21, in fact, as implementing this law, is valid until declaring it unconstitutional.