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 and added value to the personal history of every descendent of Italian immigrants.
COASIT (Commitato assistenza scuole italiana) was established on the 15 of 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.
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.
On January 1983 COASIT changed its statute and established itself as a Charity. This meant that, even though it was still collaborating with the Consulate it was now more independent.
From half of the 90's COASIT employed teachers with a local assignment to meet the demands of courses that could not be fulfilled only with the contingent sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This initiative was in detriment of the provision of textbooks and other forms of incentive to study.
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 organizational and teaching skills and providing the management of a budget at the local level.
In particular, the COASIT provides for the payment of the classrooms and appoints teachers for courses that can’t be covered by the contingent of teachers sent from Italy; promotes educational update of all the teachers of the courses, makes available to all teachers educational materials and the opportunity to divulgate them.
From the current year as a result of cuts to the ministerial contribution, the COASIT has to ask a registration fee of £ 100 per year to compensate for the reduction of funds. Many parents have been understanding and have contributed to the initiative, (sometimes supporting the whole course); others 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 the Anglo Italians in London despite this moment of general economical hardship.