Campaigns and activities
The Italian Framework Law 104/1992 provides that persons with disabilities “regardless of their type and degree of disability” attend mainstream school from child day care to the highest possible education level that the person can attain with his/her personal capacities. After inclusive education became the general practice in Italy, special primary schools were closed and therefore all blind and partially sighted children attend mainstream schools.
1.2. National vocational training and lifelong learning systems
Law 104/1992 and Law 845/1978 provide for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in mainstream vocational training courses in public and private centres and also ensure that students with disabilities who cannot avail themselves of ordinary learning methods can get a qualification also by means of specific activities that are set up in the framework of the activities of the vocational training centre. To this end, the Regional Authorities provide the necessary support material and equipment.
In vocational training centres courses are set up for persons with disabilities who cannot attend mainstream courses. Students who attended these courses obtain a certificate of participation valid for enrolment in the compulsory employment register.
The Italian legislation provides that the blind and partially sighted attending mainstream primary and secondary school get support at school and domiciliary educational support.
Support measures are indicated in Law 104/1992. The school integration of persons with disabilities in mainstream settings at all educational levels (primary, secondary, etc.) is ensured by the following measures:
a) coordinated planning of educational, health, social, cultural, leisure and sport services,
b) provision to schools of technical equipment and educational material as well as of any other kind of technical aids.
In addition to the obligation of local authorities to provide assistance to pupils/students with a physical or sensorial disability for their independence and communication needs, in schools at all educational levels (primary, secondary, etc.) support activities are provided by specialised itinerant teachers. The Ministry of Education is responsible for setting up training and refreshing courses for teachers on subjects related to the school integration of pupils/students with disabilities.
Teachers of pupils/students with disabilities indicate in a specific paper for the evaluation of pupil's/student's competences which subjects special educational criteria were applied to. In compulsory school, examinations are carried out on the basis of the study programme drafted for each specific pupil with a disability. In secondary schools, students with disabilities can take an exam in a way which is equivalent to that of non-disabled students; in addition, disabled students are given more time during written exams or exams entailing the use of drawings and can be assisted by personnel for their independence and communication needs.
Students with disabilities take their exams with the aids they need. Visually impaired students are provided with a Braille transcription of the exam questions/text.
Local authorities are responsible for the funding of the programmes of domiciliary educational support and special complementary activities, i.e. the activities aimed at reducing the effects deriving from visual loss.
Law 17/1999 provides for the provision of specific technical and educational aids to students with disabilities, in some cases through agreements with the regional or local authorities, and the provision of specific tutorial support. Law 17/1999 also provides for individualized measures to enable students with disabilities to take their exams, including the use of technical aids specifically needed in relation to the type of disability and the possibility to take exams in a way equivalent to the way ordinary exams are taken, upon request of the specialised tutor.
Besides the provisions for mainstream curricula, there are specialised courses for the vocational training of visually impaired telephone switchboard operators, masseur therapists (both professions are related to the Italian compulsory employment scheme) and computer programmers. The Italian legislation also provides for the recognition of the following professional figures who are legally equivalent to telephone switchboard operators, masseur therapists as regards compulsory employment schemes: visually impaired telephone operator employed in customer information – reception service; visually impaired telephone operator employed in the management and utilisation of databases and visually impaired telephone operator employed in telemarketing and the medical emergency service. Nevertheless courses for these new professions have seldom been set up so far.
The training of compensatory skills is not dealt with by the educational system as its responsibility lies with the functional rehabilitation schemes.
Braille, computer, daily living skills, mobility.
There are no special certificates for visually impaired teachers and students. In the past there were courses, resulting in a specific certificate, for both blind and sighted teachers who wanted to teach blind pupils at primary schools but this qualification does not exist any longer.
4.2. Adaptation and transcription of the documents
The laws regulating the above provisions are as follows: Law 104/1992 on the “assistance, social integration and the rights of persons with disabilities”, Law 4/2004 “Provisions to enable persons with disabilities to access computer technology tools” and its application contained in the legislative decree of 30 April 2008 concerning the provision of text books and educational computer aids. In addition, the Ministry of Education issued in 2008 a circular letter that set an earlier date for the choice of text books for the following year in classes where there is a visually impaired pupil/student in order to give more time to the agencies in charge of the production of such books in adapted format (Braille, large print, electronic) to perform their task and timely deliver the text books to the pupils/students. The Italian Library for the Blind, located in Monza, made agreements with the main publishing houses in order to obtain the digital files of the textbooks to be produced in adapted format for blind and partially sighted pupils/students. The Library has production centres in various cities. Also the Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted provides large print textbooks to partially sighted pupils/students according to their specific needs. The National Talking Book Centre of the Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted has a similar agreement for the production of textbooks in DAISY format.
The following laws encompass all sectors of life where persons with disabilities need to see recognised their rights to assistance, social integration and access to computer technology tools and therefore they apply to all educational levels (primary, secondary, etc.): Law 104/1992 on the “assistance, social integration and the rights of persons with disabilities”, Law 4/2004 “Provisions to enable persons with disabilities to access computer technology tools” and its application contained in the legislative decree of 30 April 2008 concerning the provision of text books and educational computer aids. The special equipment and teaching material are given to blind and partially sighted children and adults free of charge by the National Health System (Law 284/1997).