Italy to teach school subjects in English

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There are already teachers ready to start giving classes in English, Education Minister Stefania Giannini said. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
15:48 CET+01:00
Pupils at Italian primary schools will soon be able to learn subjects in English, Education Minister Stefania Giannini has said.

The new measure is being introduced as part of the government’s nationwide push to improve Italians’ language skills.

“From September there will be the possibility to have proper English professors who teach, working alongside the teacher, a subject in English,” Giannini told Corriere della Sera.

While she did not define which subjects would be taught in English, Corriere said science lessons could come under the new plan.

At the moment the measure is focusing on pupils of primary school age, rather than older schoolchildren, the minister said.

There are already teachers ready to start giving classes in English, while from next year the government will reorganize the recruitment process.

“I know that it will take time,” Giannini said. “We are setting up a national model for the next generation of English teachers.”

The new selection process for teachers will also target Italian language teachers for children who are not native speakers, the minister said, reflecting Italy’s growing linguistic diversity.

Such changes build on Giannini’s plans for education reform outlined last March, when she said that teaching Italian pupils English only as a foreign language was not enough.

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Italy has made speedy progress in teaching English at schools in recent years. Every pupil now has language lessons at lower secondary school, up from 89.1 percent in 2005.

The figure puts Italy in the same league as Denmark, Germany, Malta and Sweden for teaching English to all schoolchildren, although Italians often criticize the standard of language lessons. 

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