Italy – Salesian schools at the top of the ranking that measures the quality of Turin institutes

by Fr. Sebastian Fernando

As has been the case for many years, the Agnelli Foundation, on the eve of registration for the next school year, publishes, through “Eduscopio”, the ranking of secondary schools – state and private – whose results make them more reliable. This year, Salesian schools jumped to the forefront among secondary schools in Turin, taking the top places.

The purpose of “Eduscopio” is to provide guidance to families looking for a good school for the formation and education of their children. The data provided by the Agnelli Foundation are not only an opportunity for people to get their bearings in the great sea of school offers, but are also awaited with great interest by individual schools to establish the framework of their own “health” and that of the local school system.

Eduscopio 2023 (like those of previous years) is the result of a wide-ranging research that aims to identify the quality level of institutions based on the results achieved by students in the year following their graduation at senior level, both if they continue their studies (which happens especially with high school education) and if they decide to look for a job related to their area of study (as happens mainly in technical education).

With reference to the city of Turin, in reviewing the results of past years, the schools with a long history, with slight variations, are more or less at the top of the ranking .

This year, however, Eduscopio’s analysis holds more than one surprise. In fact, among the secondary schools identified in Turin as the best and at the top of the rankings in relation to university performance three institutes are on a par: the Edoardo Agnelli in the traditional scientific category, the Valsalice institute for applied science, the former Mary Help of Christians teachers college in the humanities and, finally, the fourth place goes to the technical and technological course at Agnelli with regard to the employability of its graduates.

These are all schools of Salesian affiliation, showing how how Don Bosco’s educational system, with the inevitable adaptations over the years essential for adapting it to today, still shows so much vitality.

It is possible to identify two main reasons behind this affirmation of Salesian schools in Turin. The first is the ability to create a real educational community around school life that involves parents and the many opportunities ensured by the “pedagogy of the playground”, which has always occupied an important place in the Salesian tradition. Teachers in general are not only good and competent professionals who know their subject thoroughly and know how to teach it equally effectively; they are also educators who take care of their students in terms of behaviours, the exercise of the will, the development of moral sense and who, above all, know how to talk to parents not only about their child’s academic performance.

It must be recognised that the private schools are smaller (one, maximum two classes for each course), and the stability of teaching and management make it easier to customise interventions. In this regard, there is extensive documentation that shows how the size of schools (and consequently the anonymity found in mega institutes) also has significant repercussions on school performance and on the quality of the relationship that takes place in the leader/teacher/student/family chain.

Secondly, in schools belonging to religious congregations, school life is inspired by a unified educational principle that, without cancelling out the sensitivities of each teacher, prevents each teacher from simply carrying out their own program regardless of their colleagues, avoiding the phenomenon that each teacher does it their own way, ending up creating inevitable confusion in the classroom.

Finally, it should not be underestimated – for the sake of objectivity – that parents’ reasons for choosing private schools guarantee a less varied and perhaps even less problematic school population than state institutions, and this works in favour of the quality of the results. The season of “intense” homogeneity of private schools is long over; today there is a different kind of homogeneity, based on common sensitivity and educational concern of families.

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The society of St. Francis de Sales or Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), is a religious Congregation founded by St. John Bosco in 1859 in Turin, Italy for the purpose of helping, educating and training poor boys. To date, services of the Salesians have spread to 131 countries in the world. In Sri Lanka, the very first Don Bosco Centre was established in 1956 at Negombo. The Salesians of Don Bosco have, to date established 18 centres in different parts of the country. 


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