Today SVIMEZ publishes a new report on the appropriations and implementation of the PNRR and does so in the aftermath of the States General of the Birth Rate that have lit a new beacon on the demographic winter that our country is going through.
The latest issue of Information SVIMEZ ("Kindergartens and school infrastructure: PNRR will not bridge territorial gaps") is dedicated to the theme of early childhood services and education: sectors affected by deep territorial gaps in the provision of adequate infrastructure, in the quantity and quality of services offered to children and pupils, in the outcomes of learning and training processes.
The President of the Council Giorgia Meloni yesterday reiterated that there is no freedom for women forced to choose between work and motherhood, and this report today recalls that the quality and adequate provision of school and early childhood infrastructures represent "strategic elements for the reduction of territorial gaps in female participation in the labor market and in the accumulation of human capital".
Among the data presented by Svimez, a North stands out, with a female employment rate between 25 and 49 years that drops from 85% for women without children to 66% for mothers with children under the age of 6 (therefore 22% leave, or do not access, the world of work when children arrive). In the South it is even worse: from 58% of employed women in that age group, to just 38% of employment of women with children of pre-school age. All this is linked, says SVIMEZ, to the lack of childcare services in the southern regions.
The study published today investigates how the investments envisaged in this sector by the PNRR would favor a territorial rebalancing precisely in childcare services that would be so useful for a reversal of the trend for the birth rate. What emerges is that "in the regions of the South all the indicators considered record significantly lower values than in the Centre-North, but with profound differences within the macro-areas. The most marked regional differences are observed in the availability of school canteens, the absence of which limits the possibility of offering full-time work. Less than 25% of southern primary school pupils attend schools with canteens (compared to about 60% in the Centre-North); less than 32% of children in the case of kindergartens (compared to about 59% in the Centre-North)".
The gap between regions such as Sicily and Campania is abysmal, with percentages of children benefiting from canteens of less than 15%, and 66.8% in Emilia-Romagna or 69.6% in Liguria.
According to the LEP (Essential Levels of Benefits that according to our Constitution should be guaranteed on the national territory) at least 33% of the population aged between 3 and 36 months of age should have the guarantee of early childhood services by 2027, but we are still only 6.5% in Sicily, 8.2% in Sicily and 9.3% in Molise.
The resources available to fill these gaps, in the NRP, are equal to 11.28 billion euros, of which 10.73 are allocated to local authorities, but according to the study there has not been so far an allocation of resources consistent with real needs. SVIMEZ attributes this gap between resources and needs to a lack of realistic initial mapping and proposes, in essence, to include this sector in the reprogramming of the NRP that can go beyond 2026 with the European resources of the ERDF (regional and national) and with the Development and Cohesion Fund (FSC) 2021-2027.