Tuesday, June 28, 2011

La maturita'

Besides meaning maturity, this word also denotes the final exams that Italians take upon leaving secondary school, which they do at about age 18-19, unless they're laggards. The maturita' exams are taking place right now, to the dismay of all concerned. They are not standardized tests, but are written and oral exams administered by educators from external schools. The Italians still place great emphasis on them, and themes that may come up are heatedly discussed, even in the media. Such themes may range from Cicero or Thucydides to things that are a bit more modern.

Italian secondary school is quite different from American high school. Upon leaving middle school, the young student in Italy will enroll in a liceo (more academically oriented), which may have an orientation that is classical (lots of Greek and Latin), linguistic (modern languages), scientific (science and technology), or even artistic. Those who intend to go to a university will usually opt for a liceo. The istituto tecnico is a sort of vocational school that aims at making students readily employable. An interesting option for the many who are interested in a career in the hospitality industry is the scuola alberghiera, where teenagers are taught to cook or work in a hotel.

(In the photo, a liceo classico in Milan)