Italy’s Communist Youth Front (FGC) has stated that the Italian government’s decision to start compulsory online classes for students during the COVID-19 lockdown will exclude millions who do not have internet access. On April 6, Monday, the council of ministers, including education minister Lucia Azzolina, approved a new school decree making online teaching mandatory.
FGC argued that the decree formalizes a model of education which discriminates against the children of workers. According to Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) data, one in three families in the country does not own a computer or tablet. According to FGC, millions of students will be considered absent from the online classes.
Vincenzo Colaprice of the Giovani Comunisti (Young Communists) told Peoples Dispatch, “for the first time, millions of students are experimenting with online classes and this means the use of internet connection and digital devices. We asked the government to create a fund in order to finance the purchase of tablets, PCs, headphones and free internet connection as a basic right.”
“The new school decree also contemplates a recruitment plan for 4,500 teachers. In our opinion, it’s a low number, despite the presence of thousands of teachers with precarious jobs and without guarantees for recent graduates,” he added.
Prime minister Giuseppe Conte had imposed a national quarantine in Italy, one of the worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 9. At least 132,547 people have contracted COVID-19 in the country and 16,523 people have died, as of April 7.