Bolzano South Tyrol


Who are we?

We are a non profit, non government organization of parents who want their children to acquire a good knowledge of both official languages spoken in South Tyrol: German and Italian ( plus a smaller number of Ladins).

We live in a bilingual province in Northern Italy, close to the Austrian and Swiss borders. According to the latest census carried out in the autumn of 1991 the Germans with 287,503 persons represent 67.99 per cent of the population; the Italians with 116,914 represent 27.65 per cent and the Ladins with 18,434 represent 4.36 per cent. Language parity is guaranteed by law.
We believe that learning the second language is both a practical necessity and a cultural enrichment for all.

We think that language immersion is a viable method and would like to see it adopted in state schools.

Why is local government opposing immersion?

The Statute of Autonomy provides the legal framework for the protection of the German minority in South Tyrol.
Article 19 states that schools are either in German or Italian, teachers have to belong to the linguistic group of the school they teach at. Students are free to choose the school they want to go to. German is a compulsory subject (called second language) in Italian schools and viceversa.

Command of German by Italians living in South Tyrol has improved lately, but is still considered to be unsatisfactory.  The Association of Parents for Bilingual Education is supporting various didactical initiatives at Italian primary schools that implement immersion teaching and learning and copresence of Italian and German teachers.

Local government has put a ban on further initiatives implementing forms of immersion and copresence. The leading majority party (Südtiroler Volkspartei) maintains, that the German minority's cultural identity would be jeopardized by any weakening of the language integrity of the school.

What are our aims?

We simply think that if students and parents desire to have a greater number of classes of German, and believe that immersion is a good method, they should be free to have them. This is no menace to the integrity of the German minority at all. Because:

  1. At present it is only Italian schools that implement immersion.
  2. It is said that German students and parents would not want to have immersion implemented at German scools.
  3.   A better knowledge of German by Italians would strenghten the German minority and the respect for their rights.
  4.   We canvass for support and help parents formulate proposals and effectively fight for their rights.


Immersion in South Tyrol

At a small number of Italian primary schools immersion classes are held on an experimental basis:


History of immersion Activities
What students think of immersion learning Other Sites