Free coaching for Milan school kids

Public-spirited volunteers are helping beat the economy crunch by organising free coaching and mentoring for kids worried about not scoring promotion marks at school, or having difficulty settling in.

A report in the Milan section of leading Italian daily Corriere della Sera reveals that, while some teachers charge up to €20 or even €30 per hour for private, after-hours coaching, networks have sprung up to provide free help at a time when parents are finding it more and more difficult to afford.

One group is helping 40 students from four secondary schools (Virgilio, Donatelli-Pascal, Einstein and S. Caterina di Siena) brush up their Latin. English and maths are among the most popular subjects.  Another, called Portofranco, is specialising on helping students facing the big step of their first year of secondary school with mentoring by over 100 parents, pensioners and university students.  This year for the first time, even senior grammar-school students are volunteering to help out: “A good sign that gives us hope for the future,” the association’s president Alberto Bonfanti said.

The teachers’ association Nonunodimeno (Not one less) has been organising free coaching and mentoring for two years.  Chairman Giansandro Barzaghi told reporters, “Private tutoring has become a luxury.   This is why the number of kids dropping out of high school is increasing.  The word is that 16,000 kids are in danger of dropping out in Milan, with some schools losing up to 60 per cent.”