News about Sicily

Girodivite: Palermo, April 9, 2022: No to school-barracks alternation

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School-Barracks alternation? No thanks!!! On Friday 8 April, students, teachers, No War associations and grassroots unions met in Palermo to request the repeal of the memorandum of understanding between the School Office of the Sicily Region and the Military Command of the Army signed on 20 December 2021 , as well as Pathways for Transversal Skills and Orientation (PCTO), as the School-Work Alternation activities introduced with law 107/2015 (the good school of Matteo Renzi & C.) have been renamed.

On the eve of last Christmas, secondary schools on the island found themselves a bad gift: a three-year agreement between the highest regional educational institution and the Army General Command for the performance of school-work alternation activities in some of the military departments in Sicily.
A provision promptly rejected by a large part of the school world and for the abolition of which a Coordination was established which today includes 15 associations (Anarchica Palermo, Cobas, Student Collective LC Garibaldi Palermo, Collettivo Radio AUT, Base Committee NO MUOS Palermo , Sicilian Anarchist Federation, Communist Youth Front, A.
Ballarò Laboratory, Malaspina Social Laboratory, No Muos Movement, Our Voice, Communist Workers’ Party, SCUM, Palermo Students, USB School).

“We strongly reject the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Military Command of the Army and by the Regional Education Office which provides for the employment of students in unpaid work projects in seven barracks”, writes the Coordination No PCTO.
“Paying particular attention to the scholastic, academic and scientific world for the dissemination of ethical-social values, history and military traditions – so the protocol states – seems to us in stark contrast to all the documents of various international bodies that invite institutions not to advertise among the very young generations the values ​​of war which, moreover, is repudiated in our Constitution.
Instead, the intention – again of the protocol – to strengthen the correlation between the educational system and the enhancement of the artistic-cultural and naturalistic heritage appears tragicomic, since we live in a Region that pays dearly for the removal of entire pieces of territory because to military servitude: from the cork forest of Niscemi to make way for the base that hosts the MUOS, to the coast of Punta Izzo in Augusta, which is forbidden to be used for military exercises “.

According to the Sicilian organizations that have promoted the No PCTO Campaign, the school should instead strengthen itself as a reference point for the new generations and “not become a sounding board or even worse executor of the wishes of the Army”.
“The school – they add – must educate for peace and coexistence between peoples and the school / barracks model and the militarization of education and knowledge go in the opposite direction.
Therefore we ask the USR Sicily for the immediate revocation of the Protocol and the Sicilian schools that have undertaken them, to suspend all collaboration activities with military institutions ”.

The Coordination has promoted a collection of signatures against alternation in the armed forces that will be delivered on Friday morning at the conclusion of a garrison in front of the Regional School Office, in via Fattori 60 (Palermo).
On the same day, the updating / training conference of the CESP Study Center for the Public School will be held at the IIS “Ettore Majorana”, entitled ASL / PCTO.
A balance of their progress “.
Speakers will include, among others, professors Edoardo Albeggiani and Pino Iaria and students Giorgio Caruso (LS “Einstein” from Palermo) and Diego D’Urso (LS “Lombardo Radice” from Catania).

“The Pathways for Transversal Skills and for Orientation must be abrogated because we are faced with a compulsory work activity that has the ill-concealed aim of teaching the younger generations the fundamental bases (ideological and practical) of the world of work at the time of triumphant neoliberalism: precariousness, disqualification, exploitation ”, explain the promoters of the initiatives of 8 April.
“Both in the Regional Training and in the Public School, especially in the Technical and Professional Institutes, this practice has made available to companies hundreds of thousands of very young people who, with the justification of learning the trade, introject the dominant concept for which it is a luck to find a job even if wage, contractual, working hours and organization rights must be sacrificed ”.

For the NO PCTO Coordination, the school risks becoming the “transmission belt of a system that not only exploits, but prepares for exploitation and educates to exploit”.
“Included in the ASL / PCTO package – concludes the Coordination – is the obvious lack of safety, for which numerous and serious accidents have occurred, with the death during an internship of two boys attending Regional Vocational Training Centers, but who it could have happened in any secondary school “.

As well as with the processes of militarization of the territory, also with the School / Work Alternation Sicily has assumed the role of a real experimental laboratory of the now dominant socio-cultural model of warfare.
Thus the Army-USR protocol identifies a series of armed departments where secondary schools of the island can carry out the “alternation courses” from this school year.
Specifically, PCTOs were activated at the 62nd “Sicily” Infantry Regiment in Catania for the repair of telecommunications equipment and vehicles; Warehouse and warehouse management; Green maintenance; Management of the kitchen service and food distribution.
At the 46th Palermo broadcasting regiment, students can operate on structured cabling in local networks and on management / supervision of network services.
Also in the Sicilian capital, training offers are available at the “Documentary Center of the Army”, in the “Supply and maintenance section” (Mechanical workshop; Carpentry; Blacksmith; Painting); to the 11th Infrastructure Department (Design of building works; Construction site assistant – systems); at the “CME – Military Command of the Sicily Army” (Welcoming and accompanying visitors to the Palace and for exhibitions / events; Library management, Topographical orientation).
Lastly, PCTO of Workshop and Laboratory Workings are active at the 6th Bersaglieri Regiment of the “Aosta” brigade in Trapani.

The school-armed forces alternations unfortunately overlap with a whole series of “educational-training” interventions promoted within the institutes of all types and levels by the leaders of the Italian Ministry of Defense and by the Commands of the US and NATO forces present in Sicily.
The organization of “guided tours” of the classes to barracks, airports and military bases or to companies producing weapons systems is a consolidated practice.
Students are called to attend military parades, flag-raising, awards of honors to alleged war heroes.
Then there are the many didactic activities entrusted to generals and admirals (from the interpretation of the Constitution to environmental and health education, to the fight against drugs and to the prevention of behaviors classified as “deviant”, bullying, cyberbullying, etc.); the choirs and bands of students and soldiers; training courses on fighter-bombers and frigates.

Among the most requested “speakers” are the US Marines at the Sigonella base, a real war platform for warplanes and for intelligence drones and killers used on a planetary level.
The managers and the teachers-referents of the design-schools jostle to compete for them in courses of English language, history and traditions, interculturalism, sport and “healthy eating”.
A militarization of consciences and of education functional to the general consensus towards the multi-billionaire rearmament plans and to create the ideological bases of the student-citizen-soldier “model” of the war societies of the twenty-first century.


This article was also published on: Antonio Mazzeo blog.


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