Italy: Foreign children in Italian schools – the SIPPS is a resource for the younger generation

The Italian school is increasingly multiracial. A large number of children who are present in the classrooms of our cities, from north to south, from kindergarten to high school. And this, according to the Italian Society of Preventive and Social Paediatrics, can only enrich the Italian children.

Multiculturalism – says the president of the SIPPS, Drs. Joseph Di Mauro – is a great resource, not a barrier, for the younger generation. It is an opportunity for children to socialize and get in touch with reality which is often completely different from ours . “

The school becomes the place that most favours integration, bringing together the host community and the community of migrant children. (…) In fact – adds Dr. Pier Carlo Wages , pediatrician clinic in Milan and a member of SIPPS -schools should educate the child with respect for others , regardless of their origin. The intercultural dimension involves the whole school, which has the job of creating equal opportunity for learning, justice and equity.”

Recent research (MR Contini, Interculturality and Social Bonds Formation: a Case Study on Immigrant and Native Preadolescents in Italy. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 2014; 149: 233-241), conducted by administering a questionnaire to a sample of more than 1,300 Italian and foreign preteens attending the second and third year of secondary school degree in Abruzzo, has highlighted the potential and critical issues which can be summarized as follows:

    • Almost a third of the Italian respondents do not spend time with pre-adolescent peers of a nationality other than their own.
    • Half of the non-Italian students spend time mainly with peers of the same nationality.
    • Most foreigners who arrived in Italy after the age of seven meet their friends outside of school and they tend to be of their own nationality.
    • The age of migration is a factor that works in favour of closer relations with Italians and boys / girls of different nationalities.
    • Chinese students were the most likely to spend time with boys / girls of their own nationality.
    • Girls show a greater openness than boys to engaging in friendly relationships within the school and with peers from different countries.
    • Italian and foreign students do not perceive there to be attitudes of discrimination against foreigners by Italian classmates or teachers.

Read more in Italian on

Council of Europe’s Diversity Advantage Challenge looking for examples of good practice by 31 October 2014!

The Council of Europe promotes a new approach to managin gincreasingly diverse societies based on the concept of DIVERSITY ADVANTAGE.

This stands for:

 Recognizing that diversity is not a threat – it can bring competitive benefits for businesses, organisations and communities if managed with competence and in the spirit of inclusion;

  Embracing diversity is not a gimmick for business/organisation/city branding but a philosophy of governance, management and decision-making.

Social and economic research worldwide provides convincing evidence that diversity and intercultural interaction can improve productivity, creativity and efficiency in all kinds of organisations, as well as in cities. Both research and practice suggest that businesses, organisations and cities can gain enormously from the diversified skills, entrepreneurship and creativity associated with diversity, provided they facilitate intercultural interaction and co-creation.

However, the notion of diversity advantage is not familiar to most Europeans and the attitudes and skills that are necessary to realise the positive potential of diversity, are not widespread among leaders in politics, business and civil society.


 is a means to raise awareness among the public and private decision-makers about the benefits of diversity and to provide a large number of examples of how organisations, businesses and cities which have realised these benefits by creating innovative products, services, ideas and initiatives. The challenge will help understand better the conditions under which diversity generates innovation and the do’s and don’ts of the process.

 is a contest for the best real-life stories of the successful involvement of people of different cultural (ethnic, religious, linguistic) backgrounds in the design of innovative products, services, policies, projects and initiatives. The stories should illustrate how it is possible to harness cultural diversity to the benefit of businesses, organisations and communities.

Interested local authorities, enterprises, civil society organisations, media and other institutions worldwide are invited to share their stories by answering to the QUESTIONNAIRE and sending it to by 31 October 2014.

For further information, see also Examples of Good Practices of Diversity Advantage

Who is the challenge for?

  • The contest is open to local authorities, enterprises, civil society organisations, media and other institutions worldwide.


Prize fund

  • Minimum 10.000 €

Further information via: Council of Europe

Austria: Pilot-schools for allocation of resources by social index

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Austrian Minister of Education Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek wants to pilot a new funding allocation for schools, which will be calculated according to a social index. The criteria for the funding still has to be established and a working group has been set up within the Ministry to agree on the basic principles. Previous proposals suggest that schools with students with a disadvantage in four areas (education, occupation, migrant background of the parents and everyday language at home) would receive more resources.

Via Science APA (in German)

According to a study recently published in Austria, the social background of children has a much bigger influence on children’s education than the country of origin of their parents. When their social and economic backgrounds are the same, there are “only very small differences” in the educational participation of school goers. According to the researcher August Gächter from the Austrian Centre for Social Innovation, school systems should offset the disadvantages due to initial conditions where possible.

Via Science APA (in German)

France: School success doesn’t only depend on school – here’s the proof in numbers

New studies are taking stock of how inequalities outside school influence the course of students.

We knew that the typical day of a student at Clichy-sous-Bois is not really the same as that of a student from the centre of Paris, mainly because of different life conditions: parents absent more oftne, bigger families, lower education level of parents, etc.

A study by SIRIUS French national partner AFEV, released on 24th September, which includes more than 600 children enrolled in CM1 and CM2 in the priority education network and in city-centre schools, tells us precisely the extent of the gulf between these two worlds. It portrays a school strongly marked by “spatial segregation”, explains Nina Schmidt of the Inequality Observatory.

Children who go to school in institutions that are part of the priority education network are much less likely to attend museums (35% against 76%) or to be given books by their parents (44% against 67 %). However, they more often eat fast food (38% against 26%) or go to shopping centers (55% against 46%), which are less fulfilling activities. Budding botanists are less likely: only 13% of them say they go on nature walks, compared to 41% of others.

More worrisome according to the study, is that a significant proportion of these children (10-20%) are in a state of “major cultural deprivation”, saying that they “never go on holiday” (12%), have “never gone to a show, a museum or to the city centre” (10%, 9%, 8%), have “no access to books at home” (19%), and “never received a book as a gift” (20%). We know, according to Eric Charbonnier, education expert at the OECD, that children whose parents read them a book once a week perform better in French. These CM1-CM2 children therefore are less likely to be good in this area, even though they to to school. “Schools can not do everything to reduce inequalities’  in education, according to Nina Schmidt .

Download the study (in French)

Read more via Slate (in French)