Lately here in Italy the most topical issue has been the number of illegal immigrants. This year 54660 illegal immigrants have arrived into Italy. The biggest groups are Syrians, Eritreans and Somalis. They can’t be sent back to their home countries, because those countries are not considered safe. I link a good video about the situation of Syrian refugees:

The EU seems to be very reluctant to do something centralized to this problem. In addition, Greece has a huge amount of illegal immigrants this year. The Northern Europe seems to think that this is not their problem, this the problem of the Southern Europe, mainly of Greece and Italy. The truth is that most of the immigrants want to leave Italy and reach their relatives in Northern Europe. This weekend France closed their border to these immigrants and now we can see from the news pictures of immigrants sleeping on the rocks at Ventimiglia.

Now there are immigrants that sleep at the Milano Centrale railway station. The local volunteer organizations like Red Cross have arranged health services and food and drink to these poor persons. There are also small children that have to sleep on the floor with their parents. Some of them refuse to go to the shelters, because they don’t want to be registered. The registration means that they would have to stay here in Italy and wait the official refugee status.

I’m sad to see these persons, they have lost everything. Some of them show signs of torture, they are psychologically tired. It is not an easy decision to walk through the desert, be raped and tortured just to get to Europe. They across the Mediterranean Sea with small boats and often they are saved by Italian military boats. Nowadays there are also boats from other EU countries to save these poor humans. Naturally, you can ask how they finance these journeys. It is very expensive to travel here. Today I saw that they pay about 2000-3000€ to get to Europe. Therefore, we can only suppose that the poorest class stays there and suffers. Nevertheless, what I have heard often the whole family collects money to send some relatives to Europe.

However, as long as these persons keep on coming Europe can’t leave Italy and Greece alone. No country can handle these huge masses of persons. As the situation in Syria remains critical, there is no hope to expect the number of Syrian refugees to diminish. I also think that it would be wiser to register all these immigrants and those that have relatives in other EU countries let them reach these relatives. In addition, it would be better let registered persons travel inside EU instead of thousands non-identified persons. In this way, it would be possible to keep track on these persons and react to possible radicalization of these persons. There was a plan to deliver 40 000 immigrants from Italy and Greece to other countries. Now it seems that many, especially, the Northern European countries don’t want to participate in this plan. Finland takes 750 legal refugees every year, now they plan that some of these 750 refugees could be from this huge group of illegal immigrants. I’m ashamed to say in this context that I’m Finnish. Unfortunately, Finland won’t open to new refugees during the new government. The Finns Party is very anti-refugee and in some degree racist party.

I still believe that these refugees have chosen to risk their life, because they couldn’t live where they lived. Maybe they hope to guarantee a better future to their children and to themselves. I was delighted to hear that at Milan some inhabitants have brought groceries, clothes and toys to these immigrants staying in the Milano Centrale. There is no easy solution to this problem, but I think EU should work together to handle this problem. Because in the end it will affect also the Northern Europe, directly or indirectly.

Italian school

I have wondered a long time should I write about this subject or not. Italian schools do not position very high in PISA ranking. How many times I hear that I should have stayed in Finland and in that way guarantee an excellent education to my children. However, I am a bad mother and chose with my husband to educate our children here in Italy.

My both children went to Montessori elementary school. I like the Montessori method and I think that it is one of the most brilliant Italian inventions. In Italy, unfortunately most of Montessori schools are private and therefore out of reach for most of the families. Nevertheless, as a method, it really teaches children to work in an autonomous way and it respects the rhythm of every single child. Ok, it is not always so and the role of the teacher is crucial. I have encountered some fantastic Montessori teachers and some quite poor. Anyway, after Montessori elementary school we put our children to a normal, public middle school.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle scuola montessori foto

Here in Italy, students study a lot of history and art history – these subjects are very important and no wonder if we think the long history of this country and the richness of the art in this country. It is enough to walk along the streets at Rome and suddenly you walk in the middle of the history and art history books. The students study literature and anthology at school. One for me a strange subject is technology. They learn to draw technical drawings, but not only. This subject includes also how to use computer, they learn how to protect environment. My eldest goes to artistic high school and there they have many artistic subjects. The younger one will start scientific high school next autumn.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle Italy art

I have to admit that in many respects I find Italian schools good. Students get a good all-round education. I admit that foreign languages are THE PROBLEM at schools. Teachers are not competent and the method they use is very old-fashioned. On the other hand, in many studies Italians are bad in mathematics. From my experience, the math teaching is good and the teachers are competent. However, we have to remember that in Italy there are huge differences between the schools and especially between the South and North Italy. Also in Pisa studies, the schools from Northern Italy succeeded over the OECD mean, but in South Italy, the level was much lower. This problem should be resolved. All the kids should get the equal education from Bolzano to Lampedusa.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle Italy art

What I cannot understand here is that students go to school also on Saturdays. So far, I have managed to find schools that work from Monday to Friday, but next year the younger one will go also on Saturday to school. This is so stupid, because they have only 27 hours a week. Then summer holidays last 3 months and students get always summer home works to do. I do not find it so awful, but of course, the amount should not be exaggerated. Unfortunately, often teachers give a huge amount of exercises to do during the summer vacations.Kuvahaun tulos haulle scuola foto

I would say that I do not regret that my children go to school here in Italy. Already a long time ago, I learned that there is no paradise on earth. The Italian school has its pros and cons, but so does the Finnish school. For example in the Finnish schools, there are much more disciplinary problems.