FEATURES » COASIT - helping teaching the Italian Language since 1977

COASIT - helping teaching the Italian Language since 1977

It is often the awareness of one’s own origins that makes it possible to freely integrate
in a new culture while feeling themselves. 

In this regard the Italian language represents a big part of the cultural identity of
the Italian immigrants in the UK.  Even though the new generations are perfectly integrated and speak English as their
mother tongue, knowing the Italian language is an added value to the personal
history of every descendent of Italian immigrants.

(Commitato assistenza scuole italiana) was established on 15th  June 1977 with the aim of keeping alive the
feeling of belonging to Italy in the Italians living in the UK.  For this reason COASIT took care and developed
the assistance and the cultural offer in favour of the Italian immigrants.

The honorary president, the Consul General supported the courses created by the “ufficio
scolastico del consolato” by managing a local budget.

At that time, COASIT, not having to pay any teacher, in addition to paying rent for
classrooms and insurances, provided textbooks to students and offered incentive
bonuses, cultural activities and training for teachers.

In January 1983 COASIT changed its constitution and established itself as a Charity. This
meant that, even though it was still collaborating with the Consulate, it was
now more independent.

From the mid-90s COASIT employed teachers with a local assignment to meet the demands of
courses that could not be fulfilled solely by the team of teachers sent by the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Using funds to employ teachers was detrimental to the provision of textbooks and other
forms of incentive to study, as available funds were depleted.

As ordered by the “Ministero”, Coasit had to produce its own funds. These funds came mainly
through voluntary contributions from parents.

The choice of COASIT London has always been to work in a symbiotic relationship with “uffici
scolastici del consolato”, receiving from them the contribution of organisational
and teaching skills and providing management of a budget at local level.

In particular, the COASIT provides for the rent of the classrooms used for courses
and extra-curricular insurance coverage, without which schools cannot grant the
use of the rooms. COASIT appoints also teachers for courses that can’t be
covered by the contingent of teachers sent from Italy; promotes educational
professional development of all the teachers of the courses, makes educational
materials available to all teachers and provides the opportunity to use them to
From the current year, as a result of cuts to the ministerial contribution, the
COASIT asks for a registration fee of £100 per year to compensate for the
reduction of funds.

Many parents have been understanding and have contributed partly or wholly to the registration
fee whilst other parents preferred to withdraw their children.

As Bruno Cervi, secretary of COASIT, told us the future plan of COASIT is to keep on offering
its services to Anglo Italians in London despite current general economic hardship. 

Giulia Lombardo

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