White Paper on Agricultural Education: The special order of Vincenzo Cervellera

White Paper on Agricultural Education: The special order of Vincenzo Cervellera

Special arrangement

The specific arrangement is concretely recognized, as an initial concept, in art. 9, chap. 1, of Law 889 of 1931, which provided for specializations for the agricultural section of the technical Institute; a subsequent Legislative Decree of 1938 n. 2038, specified how in the institution of schools with special purposes and regulations it could be provided by Law Decrees promoted by the Minister of the P.I. in concert with those of other Departments possibly interested.
That the Agricultural Technical Institutes (and for industrial ones) provided for special rules can be derived from a series of other provisions, such as, for example, contained in the same 889 containing specific conditions for enrollment in classes after the first, excluding the possibility of access to those who did not have the promotion to the previous class, that is preventing eligibility exams and therefore the registration of private candidates.
With the D.P.R. n. 967 of 19.02.1956, the special regulation was substantiated in the creation of a special course of studies, lasting six years, intended to train agricultural experts with specialization in viticulture and oenology, often identified as wine technicians.
This course of study was characterized by particular aspects which, apart from the duration, made it specific: it was not possible to access it through eligibility, it was not possible to obtain the qualification as a private individual, it was necessary to follow the courses without exceeding a certain number of absences.
Starting from the seventies many of these aspects were casually modified, so that the specificity began to take on only a nominalistic meaning, all those characteristics that had made the specialized agricultural expert a technician highly regarded on the appropriate professions market, failing.

The reasons for the special arrangement

The organization of the Agricultural Technical Institutes was borrowed in 1928 from the experiences made in about forty years by those schools which, hoped Francesco De Sanctis, had operated under the then Ministry of Agriculture, Industries and Commerce.
Referring perhaps to the Cordova proposal, De Sanctis recognized the need to consider agricultural schools as special schools; and as such they were identified, for their functioning, by the circulars Cairoli and Miceli of 1879/80, subsequently summarized in Law 3141 of 6.6.1985.
The reason for a particular system, which had hitherto provided for complete administrative autonomy, was due to the particular complexity of these schools, equipped with boarding schools, companies with complex structures, with animals, with processing industries, with laboratories that also operated on behalf of third parties, with experimental departments from which many guidelines for the development of nominal agricultural activities emerged.
These companies, and this is a reason to be strongly emphasized, were not models on which to carry out small sample exercises, but functioning realities through which the students, especially those of the higher courses, carried out and related exercises, carrying out non-manual experiences, but of direction, management, observation and critical reflection. The Agricultural Institutes were therefore the only ones to possess these characteristics, as a result of which the annual commitment lasted 365 days, day and night, without holidays, watches and occasional abandonments. They were - and are - the only ones for whose management the head of the Institute is fully responsible for the technical-accounting and administrative management of the Companies, with collaborators who help him, who are the arm, who operate in many departments, but who cannot , in terms of responsibilities of any kind, replace it.
These are farms extended in some cases to dozens and even hundreds of hectares, with dozens of cattle, sometimes hundreds of small animals, whose complexity is also demonstrated by the level of milk quotas exceeded, in various Institutes for fifty million.
Institutes - technical or professional - may not renounce this particular and different system, under penalty of rapid decline, with a loss of training capacity and technical value.

Requests for special ordering

The forces active in agriculture are around 5% of the total labor force, those of the tertiary sector oscillate within 50%. Why an Agricultural Institute should have the same number of students as an I.T.C. it is therefore a non-logical fact.
That it is claimed, as happens for professional institutes, that a single office has more than 300 students means that you have a military-numerical vision of the needs of the area; and that the coordinated schools of these Institutes must serve to enlarge numerically high schools and secondary schools is a sign only of an instrumental and compliant conception of the institutional task entrusted to these entities.
It is therefore necessary to provide, to remedy many oddities:
- that each professional institute is considered together inseparable from headquarters and coordinated school;
- that the Institutes of the sector, when they are unique in a Province or in a very vast territory, must maintain complete autonomy and a precise entity.
It is also necessary to reiterate:
- that the provincial administrations must take care of supplying companies with a minimum of organization and not only pieces of land;
- that, within the scope of the autonomy, the special system should allow a real adaptation of the school calendar to the events of the cultivation operations;
- that the employees of the companies are truly competent and are not taken from generic rankings in which they have been inserted without any demonstrated ability.

da CERERE - Review of technical and didactic problems for the agrarian address of the Four-monthly Secondary Education - Year XII N. 27 January - April 1999 - ITAS Basile - Caramia LOCOROTONDO (BA)


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