From "people’s school" to "fascist school of the Nation"? An appraisal of Italian primary edu-cation, ten years after Gentile’s reform.

Author/s Anna Scarantino
Publishing Year 2020 Issue 2020/1 Language Italian
Pages 64 P. 117-180 File size 569 KB
DOI 10.3280/MON2020-001005
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In January 1932, almost ten years past the most famous and debated reform of the fascist re-gime, the school reform, the school inspector Renato Moro prepared a detailed report on the state of primary education. This was far from propaganda and meant for internal use of the Ministry of National Education. By comparing the official publication from the Ministry, relea-sed few months later, with Moro’s report, published here in full, this essay highlights the exi-sting difference between fascism’s declared goals and reality, between the results advertised and those actually achieved. It emerges, among other, the image of a Southern society still backward but not static, which even in its middle-low levels was asking the State for more edu-cation and the possibility to access middle schools, which the reform hindered in several ways. The regime, busy obtaining a more decisive fascistisation of the education system, undervalued the negative effects engendered by the invasive presence of the National Fascist Party and the Opera Nazionale Balilla, and by the normative mess which constantly accompanied its action. The continuous succession of provisions, second thoughts and adaptations undermined the image of solidity and coherence that the regime wanted to provide with its radical project of transformation of the Italians.

Keywords: School and fascism, Opera Nazionale Balilla, inspector Renato Moro, Giuseppe Lombardo Radice, school inspectors and fascism, religious teaching and fascism

Anna Scarantino, Da scuola del popolo a scuola fascista della nazione? Un bilancio dell’istruzione elementare in Italia a dieci anni dalla riforma Gentile in "MONDO CONTEMPORANEO" 1/2020, pp 117-180, DOI: 10.3280/MON2020-001005