Italian Education head half-heartedly retracts his praise of «humiliation» as a form of teaching

Italy’s Minister of Education, Giuseppe Valditara. – MAURO SCROBOGNA / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

Italy’s Minister of Education, Giuseppe Valditara, has retracted in his own way a statement in which he praised «humiliation» as a teaching method in schools claiming that he used the words in an «inappropriate way».

«I used a certainly inappropriate term,» Valditara has said, although he has immediately clarified that he confirms the message. «Learn the humility to apologize,» he said on this occasion, assuring that on the previous occasion the terms he used «did not explain at all the meaning» of his reasoning.

Earlier this week, at an event in Milan, Valditara exclaimed ‘long live humiliation’, remarking that «working for the community», even if that included humiliating oneself is «fundamental for the growth and formation of one’s personality», recalls the daily ‘La Repubblica’.

Those statements referred to the case of a student who was suspended from school after hitting a teacher. For the Italian Minister of Education, that punishment «does not make much sense» and it would be «much better» to make him responsible for «socially useful work» for the educational community.

The opposition has charged against the Education Minister not only for these words but also for the particular apology he has offered. The deputy of the Democratic Party, Alessandro Zan, has accused him of lying and of really believing in the first statements he gave about humiliation as teaching.

«That the education minister’s educational model is based on humiliation is regrettable. School should be a training ground for democracy, not for repression,» Zan wrote on his Twitter profile.

This is not the first time that Valditara has been at the center of controversy since he took office in the government team of the far-right Giorgia Meloni. Last November 9 he published a letter to students on the occasion of the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in which he lambasted communism, ignoring that on that date was commemorated the triumph over fascism.

«It is the Ministry of propaganda,» protested the Democratic Party. «The minister ignored the fact that November 9 is the world day against fascism and anti-Semitism, as stated by the United Nations,» recalled, for its part, the ANP, the majority union of teaching professionals.

On that occasion, he replied that if «some are friends of Israel and others of Hamas», he is a friend of Israel. «I do not accept lessons of anti-fascism, my father was in the Garibaldi Brigade,» he said, appealing to the past of his father Luigi Valditara, who was known to have been in the resistance against the German and Italian forces during World War II just a couple of months when he was a teenager.