Italian teachers protest against reform bill

Italian teachers protest against reform bill

HomeEuropeMore Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:50AM

Thousands of Italian teachers and administrators have taken to the streets in Rome to protest against the government’s “Good School” reform bill.

An estimated 10,000 people participated in the Friday demonstration, which was organized by the unions of USB, UNICOBAS, and ANIEF.

Protesters chanted slogans against Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, calling his reforms “medieval”. They also shouted slogans against Education Minister Stefania Giannini and CGIL, CISL, and UIL, Italy’s “big three” trade union federations, which are blamed for selling out to the government.

“We will continue our struggle until (the government) withdraws its ‘Good School’ bill,” organizers said.

The demonstration in Rome came after thousands of teachers, wearing mourning clothes and holding candles, took to the streets on Thursday evening in a flash mob in dozens of cities and towns across Italy in protest against the educational reform bill still being debated in the parliament.

The flash mob on Thursday reportedly took place in “over 100 cities”, including Milan, Verona, Cagliari, Turin, Reggio Calabria, Palermo, and Rome. “In Naples 1,500 of us took to the streets to say that the public school system is dying,” said Antonietta Toraldo, a high-school teacher. “And now we want to be heard”.

Under the reform plan, Prime Minister Renzi reportedly seeks to refurbish Italy’s school system through investment by the private sector, creating thousands of new teaching positions and introducing unpaid apprenticeships.

Opponents argue that the reforms will lead to increased privatization.

Italy spends only 4.9 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on education, and falls below the average of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s standards with respect to mathematics, reading, and science.

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