Individual Italian Schools: San Nicola Village School

Figure 1.--Here we have a picture showing pupils of a state primary state in Calabria (southern Italy) in the early 1960s. The long pants and bare feet are probably both poverty indicators.

Here we have a picture showing pupils of a state primary state in Calabria (southern Italy) in the early 1960s. The photo was taken in San Nicola, a village about 100 km from Reggio Calabria (the most southern town in the peninsula). At the time school attendance was mandatory only in primary school (scuola elementare) for 5 years (children started when they were 6 and ended when 11). The Italian Government beginning October 1, 1963 also made "scuola media" (intermediate school) another 3 years mandatory. This mean children were required to attend school until age 14 years. Small villages like this had time until October 1, 1966 in open intermediate schools. The photograph here was published in 1963 with a journalistic inquiry about Italian schools in the Italian Touring Club magazine. This image shows a poor school attended by largely indigent village children. Note the rough desks. Kids clothing indicate their social rank. We can assume also the bare feet as a poverty indicator. Although many Italian children went barefoot there are very few school photos showing pupils without footwear. Bare feet for play in everyday life may be the child's choice. But if you see a child barefoot to school you can think that his parent can't provide him footwear. Moreover the photo here was taken in winter. Boys wearing long pants at this age in the 1960s is also a poverty indicator.


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Created: 8:14 PM 8/8/2006
Last updated: 8:14 PM 8/8/2006