Teachers in short supply at Slovenian schools in Italy

Gorizia/Trieste, 30 October - Slovenian schools in Italy are experiencing a shortage of teachers that speak Slovenian. Kindergartens need Slovenian-speaking staff as well, says Gorizia city councillor Walter Bandelj. Bureaucratic hurdles are preventing municipalities from hiring teachers from Slovenia.

A class room.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Bandelj noted that they received word from parents that Slovenian was not spoken in Slovenian nurseries, even though "both the teaching and other staff are obligated to understand Slovenian". He raised the issue with the city council.

The Gorizia region is recording a decline in population, which is resulting in ever fewer teachers. Teacher training is not available or is of poor quality, said Bandelj, adding that education falls under the authority of the state.

Even if they could fill the gaps by hiring Slovenian teachers that speak Italian, the municipality does not have the jurisdiction to do so. But because of population decline there is little interest from the state to improve the situation.

Additionally, teachers are in short supply in Slovenia as well and have little incentive to take up a job in Italy. They would indeed have a higher starting wage than in Slovenia but would lose other benefits, such as travel expenses and promotions.

Slovenian and Italian legislation are largely to blame for the problems that Slovenian schools have been facing in Italy for the past 20 years, said head of the Office for Slovenian Schools at the Regional Education Office for Friuli Venezia Giulia Igor Giacomini, adding that the situation became more complicated under EU legislation.

Many members of the Slovenian minority are studying at universities in Ljubljana and Koper and after completing their degree seek to have it recognised in Italy as well.

In the past the regional education office handled the process but it lost the jurisdiction after a recent cabinet reshuffle. Now students have to apply for education recognition at Italian universities, which respond that they cannot recognise the degree as the students did not obtain the correct credits, Giacomini said.

Giacomini believes that the legislation should be updated, adding that bilateral agreements from 1984 between Italy and Yugoslavia should serve as the basis for that.

© STA, 2023