studi superiori

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by miralo, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. miralo Senior Member

    Ciao - Would appreciate some help with a few terms in the following sentence from a book of Italian readings published in 1960. I giovani che vogliono dedicarsi agli studi superiori frequentano per tre anni La Scuola Unica. I understand the sentence generally: Young people who want to dedicate themselves to [ ] go to the [ ] school for three years. I'm guessing that studi superiori = academic subjects. And I think the Scuola Unica was an academic junior high school. But I'm not certain. I also realize that Italian education has changed considerably since 1960 and that the forgoing terms may be outdated. But I would still like to do an accurate translation.

    Grazie in anticipo
  2. Zio Gilito Senior Member

    Málaga, España
    Español - España
    I guess that "gli studi superiori" refers to "high studies" like university and that stuff...
  3. ToWhomItMayConcern Senior Member

    English (US)/Italian - bilingual
    As far as I know, "studi superiori" does not refer to higher ed; it must be the same as "scuola superiore," which basically means high school, so the "scuola unica" must have been some kind of junior high school for kids ages 14-17.
  4. elfa

    elfa Senior Member

    Bath, England
    Scuola Unica is a concept of schooling introduced by a pedagogist called Hessen. See Wiki entry here The theory behind it is that schools would eliminate class and economic distinctions between students (the sense of 'unica' or 'unified'). They also conformed to a unified structure (or one-school structure) within which there were three age bands conforming to three stages of 'moral development'. I'm guessing that the studi superiori relate to the highest of these bands.

    I would translate scuola unica as 'unified school' and studi superiori as 'high school studies', possibly, as this would be easily understood by the modern reader.
  5. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    The Scuola Unica is just another way to express the official name that was coined in those years: Scuola Media Unica or Scuola Media Unificata, ie the "unified" Junior High School. Before the 60's in fact there were different kinds of JHS's: 1. the Scuola Media (with no adjectives yet) where you studied all the usual subjects plus Latin for three years. At the end of it you had to sit a written and an oral exam succesfully to go on to the different kinds of Senior High Schools; 2. a school meant for those who did not entertain the idea of a Senior High education and at the end of the 3 years took the exam and left school for work (usually blue-collar).
    It is interesting to know that in the years of the Scuola Media (with no adjectives), pupils from elementary schools (5 years) had to pass the final exam which gave them the corresponding "license", which would come in handy when looking for a job in case they should stop going to school. Those who intended to go on with their studies instead had to choose between a blu-collar destiny and a white-collar one. The former had to take aanother exam a few weeks after the "licence" and be examined by Scuola Media professors. The latter went to the kind of school I mentioned under 2. above.
    Therefore a kid was forced to choose the kind of life he was going to lead at the age of 11 (in my case 10).
    I know the Brits had the Eleven Plus—something on the same sadistic line.
    Hope I helped understand.
  6. laurentius87

    laurentius87 Senior Member

    Turin, Italy
    Perfect explanation.
    I would only add that Junior high school (or Middle school) in Italy is for 10/11 to 13/14 year-olds.

    And studi superiori does convey a double meaning:
    1) advanced/superior studies (university)
    2) high/secondary school (before the university)

    The translation of terms dealing with school tends to be very tricky :p
  7. ToWhomItMayConcern Senior Member

    English (US)/Italian - bilingual
    ...proprio perche` i sistemi scolastici e accademici variano da nazione a nazione e spesso variano parecchio anche all'interno della stessa nazione!

    In the U.S., middle school tends to be similar to the scuola media in Italy; as far as I know, the scuola media is always grades 6 to 8, but in the U.S., middle school can be either grades 6-8 or 5-8. And I'm sure that middle school means something different in Britain!
    The junior high school model is being phased out in the U.S.
    Gli studi universitari in inglese pero` si dice di solito higher education (anche higher ed).
  8. elfa

    elfa Senior Member

    Bath, England
    Indeed! :) Thanks to laurentius and GS for their exhaustive explanations.
    I would still go with 'high school studies' for studi superiori because it would be clear (without being too specific about age) what this is referring to - even for people in the UK (who normally refer to 'high school' as 'secondary school', by the way). According to Wiki, 'high school' is used to describe 'an institution that provides all or part of secondary education'.

    'Middle school' (ages 9-13) does exist in the UK in some areas, but is not nearly as common as the two school 'primary' and 'secondary' system.
    'Junior high school' is not a term that is used in the UK at all.
  9. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Agreed, I didn't even know what it meant until reading this thread.
  10. elfa

    elfa Senior Member

    Bath, England
    You obviously don't watch enough US teen dramas :p

    Alxmrphi, we could go the whole hog with this and set out the private education system in the UK:

    Pre-prep, Prep (at the end of which is the Common Entrance exam), Senior etc :D
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2010
  11. miralo Senior Member

    Thanks for this exhaustive and wonderful discussion of Italian educational history. I'm going to have to re read to absorb it all.


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