Last year, 282,683 foreign children were registered in Italian state schools, 3,25 per cent of the total. In the city of Brescia, foreign children make up 10 per cent of the total (1,900 out of 19,000 children), most of whom do not speak Italian as their mother tongue. In one of the city elementary and middle schools, 48 per cent of the total of 700 children are foreign. The school authorities in the province of Brescia announced that they intended to draw up a plan to limit the number of immigrant children allowed in each class so that teaching would not be slowed down. The announcement brought an immediate response from the ministry of education which declared that the plan would not be permitted saying: Foreign children are an enrichment not an obstacle to racial integration and all children in Italy are obliged to attend school and have the right to a place in a state school. The reaction of the ministry is causing political debate on all sides of the political spectrum.
In Rome, racial integration has been a reality for some time. This year 27,318 foreign school children will make up 6,7 per cent of the total.