The teaching of Civics and the SEC

23 Sep 2022 | Uncategorized, Life

The School of Civil Economics (SEC), at the Lionello Bonfanti Industrial Park, launched a new advanced training course for teachers and school leaders from Sept. 8 to 10, 2022. It is entitled “Proposals for Teaching Civics.” The first experiment via web. Coming soon, in-person.

 

There was a book for those who studied at middle and high school in the 1980s that punctually arrived in June, still nice and compact, smelling new and rarely leafed through: it was the civics textbook. A subject that looked to the present, projecting itself “toward social, legal, and political life, that is, toward the principles that govern the community and the ways in which it takes concrete form” (as per the preface to the Decree of the President of the Republic that had introduced it in schools). It usually ended up a victim of the past and the history programs to be closed by year’s end.

Over time, its teaching has, in fact, faded away from the school curriculum, theoretically absorbed into the curricula of other subjects. Then, in 2019, following a collection of signatures also promoted by Italian mayors, the teaching of civics in Italian schools was reintroduced (by Law No. 92 of August 20, 2019).
Thus, from the 2020-2021 school year, civics has become a cross-curricular subject that is taught in all grades of schools, starting from kindergarten through secondary school.
This is because, as stated in the first article of the law, “Civic education contributes to forming responsible and active citizens and to promoting full and conscious participation in the civic, cultural, and social life of communities, respecting their rules, rights, and duties.”

In short, once again, the Italian school is being asked to make its contribution to better our society and public life, to be more participatory and civilized. But not just this. In fact, from the implementing decrees it is foreseen that educational institutions can collaborate with local realities, such as third sector entities, through forms of co-programming and co-planning, also to propose out-of-school experiences of active citizenship. Leonardo Brancaccio, Secretary General of the School of Civil Economics (SEC), which is based at the Lionello Bonfanti Industrial Park explains: “The law provides for the cross-curricular teaching of Civics, with an amount of hours per school year that cannot be less than 33. There are three thematic strands: Constitution, Sustainable Development and Digital Citizenship. So, at the SEC we said to ourselves, given our experience in these themes, why do we not propose, in a very simple, humble way, a higher education course? And we entitled it “Proposals for Teaching Civics.” Teachers have general ideas, however, they are also looking for proposals…”

The course was held from September 8 to 10, via the web, given the imminent start of the school year. Rich contributions and insights were given by the teachers of the course and the different topics touched on ranged from a reflection on meritocracy to active citizenship; from the principles and values of the Constitution and the constituent Fathers to environmental education, to name only a few here). On the other hand, from virtual school desks, 25 teachers and principals, representing every part of the Peninsula, were connected.

“Given the positive feedback from the participants, we will repeat the experience,” Brancaccio points out. “We are working so that these materials will become digital, and thus be available to those who want to learn more about our proposal. But we will also do in-presence courses, because for us relational assets are a reality.”

La SEC web

A bit of history

Civics was first introduced in Italian schools through the Presidential Decree No. 585 of June 13, 1958. It was called “Program for the Teaching of Civics in Institutes and Schools of Secondary and Artistic Education.” The Presidential Decree was promoted by the then Minister of Education Aldo Moro, who as early as 1947 called for: “That the new Constitutional Charter find without delay an adequate place in the educational framework of schools of every order and grade, in order to make the young generation aware of the fulfilled moral and social achievements that now constitute the sacred heritage of the Italian people.”

Already back in 1967, Don Milani, in a “Letter to a Teacher,” wrote: “Another subject you don’t take is Civics. Some professors defend themselves by saying that they teach it within other subjects. If that were true, it would be too good […] say rather that it is a subject you do not know […]. You consider grammar more than the Constitution.” (1967, pp. 123ff.).

We hope that, thanks to the new law, Civics can help spread active participation and commitment to the common good, spread sharing and promotion of legality, active citizenship and knowledge of our Constitutional Charter, which, as Roberto Benigni said, is “the most beautiful in the world.” The SEC is doing its part to collaborate with teachers to spread civic education.

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