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Towards better Schools and more Equal Opportunities for Learning in Italy

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  • Romina Boarini


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    Compulsory school education in Italy produces poor results in terms of 15-year olds’ performance on PISA tests, compared with other OECD countries, despite a relatively high level of expenditure. While the influence of social background is smaller than in many OECD countries, it is largely transmitted through a kind of self-segregation resulting from family choices among the different types of upper secondary school. Large differences in pupils’ performance between regions cannot be explained by the quantity of resources available; separating the influence of socio-economic conditions from school efficiency is difficult and must be treated carefully in plans for extending fiscal federalism. The Italian government is rightly concerned to get better value for money and this chapter argues that policies to improve the information available to schools and teachers on the results they are achieving, while giving them appropriate incentives, responsibility and power to respond to such information, are necessary accompaniments to expenditure-saving policies. An improved focus on good quality training, both for new recruits and experienced teachers, and recruitment procedures themselves, should also pay dividends on efficiency. Améliorer l'école et l'égalité d'accès à l'éducation en Italie Par rapport aux autres pays de l'OCDE, les résultats des tests PISA des élèves italiens de 15 ans sont médiocres, et ce, malgré des dépenses d’éducation relativement élevées. Si l’incidence du milieu social est moindre que dans de nombreux autres pays membres, elle passe essentiellement par une sorte d’autodiscrimination résultant du choix des familles entre les différents types d’établissements secondaires du deuxième cycle. L’importance des écarts de résultats scolaires entre les régions ne peut s’expliquer par le volume des ressources disponibles. Il est difficile de faire la distinction entre l’impact des conditions socioéconomiques et l’efficience des établissements, et cela doit être étudié avec soin dans le cadre des projets d’extension du fédéralisme fiscal. Le gouvernement italien souhaite, à juste titre, optimiser les dépenses publiques et le présent chapitre défend l’idée selon laquelle des mesures visant à améliorer les informations à disposition des établissements scolaires et des enseignants concernant leurs résultats – tout en leur apportant les incitations, les responsabilités et les pouvoirs nécessaires pour agir en fonction de ces résultats – doivent accompagner les mesures d’économies budgétaires. Une attention plus grande accordée à une formation de qualité pour les enseignants, qu’il s’agisse des nouvelles recrues comme des enseignants chevronnés, ainsi qu’aux procédures de recrutement elles-mêmes, devrait également favoriser l’efficience.

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    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 727.

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    Date of creation: 12 Oct 2009
    Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:727-en
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