Decree on Equal Education N. 388
Mechanographic Code: MITF005006
Definition of a textbook
Still today textbooks represent the most used learning tools and trough them students succeed in realizing their knowledge and learning process. It is the main meeting point between the the teacher’s skills and the student’s expectations, the preferential channel trough which it is possible to enable the school communication. The textbook is a precious instrument at the service of the flexibility in the organization of the educational projects that have been introduced by school autonomy: the ideal textbook has to fit to the several needs, supplemented and enriched with other texts or publications, but also by using alternative teaching instruments.
Process of consulting
The adoption of the textbooks represents a particularly defining moment in the school activity. The basic principle of this serious choice is defined in the article no. 4 concerning the Regulation of the School Autonomy. In compliance with this legislation, it is established that the choice, the adoption and the utilization of the learning methods and instruments – with the inclusion of textbooks- have to correspond with the Educational Plan Offer by using the primary principles of transparency and timeliness.
The adoption of the textbook- as provided by the article no.7, Legislative Decree April 16/1994 no. 297 – belongs to the duties of the teachers’ staff, after the consultation of class and interclass councils. The first evaluation of the textbooks represents a very important occasion for parents to take part to school life and for their cooperation with teachers. In compliance with the reference regulations, the form of mixed committees is strongly desired. These committees have to include teachers, parents and students, so that they can make a proper examination both of the textbooks already in use or of the new editorial offers.
The statement emerging from the collegial meetings of evaluation simplify the final part of the whole process, the moment where the teachers’ staff resolve the adoption and choose definitely the textbooks that have to be used by students in order to complete their process of learning and growth.
Some of the requirement to take into consideration by the teachers’ staff are represented by the development of every school subject. This is the reason why the textbook has to show the specific content of each discipline, by highlighting at the same time the connection with other school subjects; it is also important the utilization of a language that is coherent with the age of their readers, so that it has to ensure clarity and comprensibility; the textbook has also to display its bibliographical references, to allow further consolidation; at the end, the textbook has to be introduced by taking into account its method and approach; it has to report the necessary prerequisites to students for a full use of the learning tool, its learning goals and the criteria for possible tests. Something positive is the presence of a wordlist to better understand the meaning of the terms less used in the text. All this- without putting aside its general information- such as number of pages, format of the volume included in the relative decrees on the regulations and the instructions for the completion of textbooks to use for compulsory education ( DM April 8/ 2009 no.41). The recent amendments to the adoption of textbooks – introduced by the Law no. 169/2008 ( Art.5) force the school institutions to adopt only the texts for which the publishers promise not to change the content for five years at least ( further integration is allowed only for the necessary revisions that must be published in separate attachments)
Length of the textbook adoption
According to article 5 of Law 2008 no. 169, the length of the textbook adoption has been significantly modified. At first, textbooks had the duration of one year: in this way teachers had the possibility of choosing textbooks for their students annually. Nowadays, in compliance with the current legislation textbooks have the duration of five years for the primary school; for secondary school textbooks can’t be modified except every six years.
The teaching staff decides the limit within so that they can decide the adoption of textbooks, with the maximal price set by the library budget. This is established by the Central Administration on annual basis.
Every year there is a Ministerial Decree that establishes the cover prices of the textbooks. It is also possible to rely on a loan of use or a leasing of the textbooks.
Data transmission and publication of textbooks’ adoption
The deliberation concerning textbooks’ adoption are transmitted electronically to the Italian Publishers’ Association and published on the authorized bulletin board of schools and in their Web-Site, by dividing the textbooks between ‘required’ and ‘optional’. If the school didn’t have a web-site, il would be possible to transmit the list of textbooks to the Provincial Education Office.