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History - Co.As.Sc.It./Saar

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Alessandro Baratta

Prof. Dr. dr hc Alessandro Baratta (1933-2002) Chairman of COASSCIT/Saar from 1978 to 2002 

The CO.AS.SC.IT. in Saarbrücken was founded on 20 November 1967 on the initiative of the Italian Consulate with the task of promoting school education, vocational training and further education for Italian citizens living in Saarland.   

  

The financing of these programmes was ensured until 1974 exclusively by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then in connection with the European Social Fund.   

  

The Assembly of Coasscit/Saar was composed of representatives of the Italian community in Saarland. In 1974, following the adoption of a new draft statute, the Coasscit Assembly was enlarged from 8 to 12 members. After years of deliberations, a new statute was approved in 1979, which radically changed the committee's structure. At that time, in fact, the need for a co-management of Italian school structures abroad had become apparent, modelled on the collegial school bodies that had arisen in Italy in the first half of the 1970s.   

  

Compared to the past, interest was now focused on the integration processes taking place in the host country. In fact, the conviction had matured that the initially planned temporary stay had been replaced by a desire for permanent settlement in the host country, which called for a change in school policy towards the Italian community in Saarland.  

  

For this reason, following the approval of the new statute, an office - CO.AS.SC.IT - was set up on the model of other institutions operating in the other federal states.  

 

The aims were clearly defined: to promote the early integration of Italian children in German kindergartens, to set up support courses for remedial schooling, to promote the integration of disadvantaged or handicapped children, to initiate adult education programmes, to financially support the teaching of the mother tongue, to promote reading by setting up a library with books in Italian. 

  

Under the name 'Comitato di Assistenza Scolastica Italiana e.V.' operating in the consular district of Saarbrücken, the committee became an association under German law in 1994 at the explicit request of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.   

  

In the same year, CO.AS.SC.IT/Saar was commissioned by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organise Italian language and culture courses.   

Since then, the teaching of the Italian language has been at the heart of the association's training activities.   

With the bilingual project 'Arcobaleno' in 1998, COASSCIT/Saar e.V. made a methodological and didactic change in the teaching of the Italian language. The priority objective is the integration of the courses into the regular school curriculum and the offering of Italian no longer exclusively as a mother tongue but also as L2 or as a foreign language.  This acknowledged the change that had taken place with the advancing integration process of Italians in Saarland.  

 

With the new models for teaching Italian, CO.AS.SC.IT/Saar aimed to accelerate the integration process, at the same time promoting the educational success of young Italians in Saarland.   

In the following years, the Italian courses were increasingly integrated into the regular classes, with the result that they were no longer only attended by Italian children, but increasingly also by German children or children of other nationalities.  

  

The unexpected death of its historic president, Prof. Dr. Dr hc Alessandro Baratta in 2002, did not interrupt the renewal efforts, so much so that the association, first with Giuseppe Lercara, and then with internationally renowned linguist Prof. Dr. Rita Franceschini, was able to expand the teaching offerings, especially with the establishment of new bilingual classes in the 'Arcobaleno' project.   

  

Under the presidency of Rosanna Logruosso, new integration projects were added, such as the TRACCE project, with the aim of introducing young Italians who have grown up here to the history of the host country and, above all, to the history of the Italians who have emigrated here over the centuries. 

Under the presidency of Dr. Tatiana Bisanti, the already strong cooperation with the University of Saarland was strengthened; bilingual classes were expanded and the use of new technologies in Italian courses was promoted.   

 

Under the new presidency of Gaetana Bella Di Napoli, Coasscit/Saar has further developed its educational offerings with the 'In Italiano con Minecraft' project, which aims to promote digital competence and Italian language learning among young people by exploiting the potential offered by new digital technologies. 

Since the 2018/19 school year, the Saarland Ministry of Education has taken over responsibility for the teaching of native languages (HSU). Mother tongue courses are now permanently integrated into the regular school curriculum with specific programmes developed by the local Ministry of Education.  

 

Coasscit/Saar is delegated the organisation of Italian courses in its capacity as partner of the Saarland Ministry of Education. 

 

Coasscit/Saar's training measures are financed with contributions from MAECI (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation), the Saarland Ministry of Education and contributions from private companies (Dr. Theiss/Giuseppe Nardi). 

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