Italian Education Minister encourages the purchase of ebooks for schools

The family law was passed by the Italian Senate on April 6, 2022. It is an organic reform of family policy, including a series of measures designed for families with children to help their social and educational function.

The other objectives: combat the falling birth rate, promote child development, promote the autonomy of young people and promote the reconciliation of family and professional life.

Support with the purchase of textbooks

Of the various measures that have been introduced, one relates to publishing: the introduction of economic support for less fortunate families, to be spent on the purchase of textbooks for students enrolled in colleges or secondary schools.

Education and in particular the central role of textbooks in the learning processThe president of the AIE (Associazione Italiana Editori), Ricardo Franco Levi, said in a press release:are recognized as essential tools to educate citizens and contribute to the social and economic growth of the country

Paolo Tartaglino, President of AIE’s School and Education Publishers Group, says:After this first concrete step, the AIE hopes that the application decrees will follow soon, which are necessary so that the families benefiting from the support can access the state and regional measures for the right to study in a unified and integrated way, and thus as soon as possible and as directly as possible. †

Digital at school: a good idea?

However, another measure has been taken by the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) to lower the spending ceiling for textbooks and to stimulate the purchase of digital learning resources.

As a result, helping families to buy textbooks through the Family Law will force schools to prefer other learning resources, especially digital ones, for budgetary reasons, while not all children lack adequate technological resources and certain surveys show the importance of is to read on paper, especially with rather long texts.

Indeed, pay attention to MI No. 5022 of February 28, 2022, with the aim of declaring the ” Adoption of textbooks in all types of schools and classes – 2022/2023 school year “, further lowering spending limits for the purchase of textbooks, taking a fictitious for granted”reduction of the cost of all textbooks due to the digital switchover and the availability of technology support

A teacher of literature and Latin at the Liceo Linguistico e delle Scienze Umane “A. Pieralli” in Perugia wrote a letter expressing the opinion of many teachers, which was sent to MIUR and published by theCorriere della Sera

Books “paper”learn to think

The teacher first points out that the “digital switchover and the availability of technological mediaare not yet active in many Italian public schools. She goes on to say that “the paper textbook is an indispensable tool even in the 4.0 class[…] especially at a time when the textbook is probably the ONLY paper book that most so-called “digital natives” will encounter along the way.

Indeed, adolescents often have digital skills limited to the use of social networks, and contact with books proves invaluable: “paper books […] which are the only ones where one can get to know (and maybe even appreciate) the slow reading and reflection time.

The professor also cites prestigious international research that shows that reading on paper is sometimes more effective than reading via an electronic device.

In particular, she mentions the 2008 study inThe international magazine of the book(vol. 5, n° 2), “Millennial Attitudes Toward Books and E-Books” and the research conducted by Anne Mangen, published in theInternational journal for educational research(part 58, 2013).

Indeed, the Norwegian researcher had two groups of 36 high school students read two texts: she gave the first the paper text and the other a PDF file to read on a computer screen. Both groups performed reading comprehension exercises. And here’s the researcher’s conclusion:Students who read the paper text scored significantly higher on text comprehension than those who read the digital text.» Is this a coincidence?

photo credits: Museums Victoria/ Unsplash

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