Back To School, For Those Who Can Afford It
Our psychologist discusses schooling struggles and deep inequalities with her Neapolitan patients.
In most Italian municipalities, school cafeterias and full-day school schedules begin at the same time as the teaching calendar. Yet in Naples, for years I've been hearing the following:
"To start the school lunch service, we have to wait for a company to win the contract bidding!"
This "normally" happens at the end of October, if not at the end of November. Yet, Neapolitan parents pay for school lunch just like all other Italian citizens. However, in Naples, holidays are considered sacred even for contract bidding and companies, so they cannot be announced or concluded, as reason would dictate, before the start of the school year.
So, what if the children get out of school at 1 P.M. for a couple of months? If parents can't pick them up, they have to rely on family members or, alternatively, they send their children to private schools.
Those who can afford it are welcome, but those who can't afford it can't work, because, as one of my patients once said:
"Dottoré, I used to work for 600 euros a month under the table in a clothing store. Then, with the arrival of my second child, I had to leave because how could I manage with one child in daycare and one in elementary school? It would have cost me 700 euros a month for a babysitter, which is more than I was earning."
Christ must have stopped south of here. Equality, emancipation, and the rights of motherhood and childhood should be much, much higher ...
Learn more about Worldcrunch's exclusive Dottoré! series here.
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