For my last blog post, I would like to go over the higher education system in Italy that I presented during class. In Italy, during high school, it’s very important for students to decide what they want to do when they’re older. This is because their selection will change what university pathway choose. It is very difficult to switch concentrations once you select your degree. After high school and depending on what they decide to study, the students will complete the 3+2 course or the single-cycle degree course. The 3+2 structure requires students to complete a three-year program which is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree. Then they have to complete a two-year program which is equivalent to a master’s degree. The single cycle degree programs are for any medicine law or veterinary programs. The program can vary from 5 to 6 years. Students are required to complete high school and have a high school diploma and pass the entrance exam to go to university. There are 76 public universities in Italy, and the majority of students attend these. The public universities are more competitive and have a higher quality of education. There are 23 private universities in Italy. They are a lower quality of education, less competitive, and you need connections and money to attend. The most popular degree programs in Italy are economics, area and cultural studies, architecture, international relations, fashion design, and business administration.
You can apply to graduate school after you’ve completed the 3+2 program. The Ph.D. program in Italy is extremely competitive. But if you are accepted you are paid like a job. If you have a public university degree the state gives you money to pay for your studies or you get a sponsor. You are not required to go to work, this is only required to teach and universities. You are required to do three years as a researcher at the University, then you can teach. There is also a public exam, and you have to publish research.
“Critical pedagogy is a teaching philosophy that invites educators to encourage students to critique structures of power and oppression.” (Lynch, 2019). 2020 has been an intense year. It feels as if decades or hundreds of years of oppression and suffering are approaching a time where people will no longer let their voices be diminished. I personally believe that now is the most important time to be including critical pedagogy into our education structure.
Across all the readings this week there was a commonality between them; that compassion, love, and respect are at the heart of teaching. As humans, we should be compassionate with each other, have empathy, and spread kindness. I feel though as this message is often lost in education. Professors mold students to become work-machines. Instead of education being an eliminating experience of growth for young minds, it emphasizes inequalities. This is by the lack of affordances to education through disparities between wealthy and poorer districts, price of higher education, lack of availability, lack of recourses, or discrepancies in quality. Even if teachers/professors are unknowingly emphasizing inequalities, it does not mean it is not happening. If we start being proactive, making ourselves aware and conscientious when we are educating we can begin to make a small impact. Using compassion, love, and respect while being aware of social injustice our students face can change a student’s experience of education.
Lynch, M. (2019, September 06). HOW TO IMPLEMENT CRITICAL PEDAGOGY INTO YOUR CLASSROOM. Retrieved from The Edvocate: https://www.theedadvocate.org/how-to-implement-critical-pedagogy-into-your-classroom/
I think access to higher education should be more available. Access to high education means a number of things, this could be by cost, physical accessibility, and availability of classes. At this point in time, some form of higher education is a necessity to be able to get a job anywhere. A high school diploma alone does not hold the same weight it did 20 years ago. Thus, young people are forced to pursue some form of higher education right after high school. The vast majority of students have only worked a minimum wage job and cannot financially afford college. So, they are forced into student loans, working 2-3 jobs, applying to hundreds of scholarships, or not attending. At my undergraduate university, I had a friend who got a job at the university as a janitor because as an employee you can attend classes for free. So, worked as a janitor for 6 years (took longer because he had to work full-time) until he obtained his BS in Aerospace Engineering (for free).
But, why is it this way? Why do we need to jump through hoops just to be able to survive? Next, physical accessibility needs to be improved across all forms of higher education. Disability services across campuses are often under-funded and not utilized to its potential. At some universities allocating the tools needed for students to succeed are at times extremely difficult. Lastly, the availability of classes often does not work with a working person’s schedule. People who are working through a degree often need to sacrifice the classes they want to take or their schedule.