Nationalism in Italian Education

Nationalism in Italian Education

Nationalism in Italian Education

Nationalism in Italian Education

Excerpt

The educational reform enacted in Italy in 1923 by Giovanni Gentile, then Minister of Public Instruction, does not reveal its full import and significance if considered merely as the solution of a technical problem in pedagogy, or as the substitution, be it ever so radical, of adequate school ordinances for inadequate ones. To comprehend fully its nature we must regard it as the expression of the new cultural and spiritual trend of Italy, as something that betokens a complete transformation of ideals in the life of the Italian people, and attests the predominance of that new ethical and cultural consciousness which, shaping itself since the beginning of the century and at first fully grasped only by a few, has nevertheless from the start won over the hearts of many, especially among the younger generation. Gentile himself, the author of the reform, was one of the master minds of this spiritual regeneration. For twenty years, pitilessly arraigning all the antiquated ideologies that were warping the mind and character of Italians, he taught his countrymen with unwavering ardor and perseverance, that their new path to progress must be made to proceed from the genuine Italian tradition as it had developed from the Renaissance to the Risorgimento.

In the second half of the Nineteenth Century and in the first years of the Twentieth Century, a dull and deadening positivistic mentality, barely relieved here and there by trite and declamatory ideologies, smacking for the most part of the Enlightenment, had fostered a mode of thinking that, being thoroughly skeptical, was inevitably materialistic, petty, and utilitarian. Vague ideals of liberty and equality interpreted in a most vacuous and one-sided manner, were degenerating into the dull selfishness of unintelligent and anarchistic individualism. The political aspect of this mental education was democratic liberalism and state-absenteeism, and the plagues of parliamentarism and free masonry. The socialistic doctrine itself, which had previously fired entire generations of young men, now emptied of its ideal content, was fast becoming a dead letter.

This situation was reflected in the educational conditions of the country. Under the banner of "non-confessional teaching" and of . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.