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Italy: Students, teachers protest against school shortcomings in Rome

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Around 1,200 people gathered in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo on Saturday to protest the delays and issues that characterised the reopening of schools after the COVID-19 lockdown.

The rally was convened by the committee ‘Priorita alla scuola’ (Priority to schools), founded during the pandemic by several groups of teachers and school workers to push the government and institutions to consider education as a priority even during times of crisis.

Protesters also called on the Italian government to take care of problems that already troubled the nation’s schools before being exacerbated by the pandemic.

“They opened a school that is halved,” one speaker told the crowd. “The truth is another one; precarious workers without assignments, schools without teachers and without new spaces, classes full to the brim of people, missing school desks, still closed schools, non-existent full-time jobs and who knows if they will ever exist.”

“We are here to protest against the government’s policies, the ministry’s policies, that did not provide enough teachers to guarantee distancing in the classes. We are still having classes with 25 or 30 students and even more,” one school worker said.

“We are asking for schools to be a priority, for money to be given to public schools that have been underfinanced for years. We are especially asking for schools to undergo a radical reform,” one student said.

Trade unions such as FLC CGIL, CISL Scuola and UIL took part in the demonstration.

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