Entries for the students’ section of the Italian Education Awards closed on Friday, September 25, while applications for the scholarship for Italian teachers closed on August 28, as per the competition guidelines.

Despite the difficulties that schools are facing due to the coronavirus pandemic, the initiative, now in its third year for students and second year for teachers, has had a huge response.

Organised by the Gruppo dell’Amicizia in memoria di Enrica Inglese and sponsored by the Italian Media Corporation, the Italian Education Awards aim to promote Italian studies in Australia.

The awards offer teachers the opportunity to participate in a training and development course in Italy, while encouraging students to continue studying the language, which can help open their eyes to another culture, provide employment opportunities, and allow them to communicate with Italian relatives.

The competition for teachers saw record numbers, with 393 Italian teachers around Australia having entered.

Italian culture extends far beyond Italy’s borders thanks to migration patterns that have seen it exported and promoted all over the world, including in Australia.

More than 500 educators around Australia teach the Italian language and culture in classrooms.

The two scholarships, valued at $5000 each and sponsored by the Father Atanasio Gonelli Charitable Fund, are a symbol of recognition of these people to whom we owe so much.

To further demonstrate its appreciation, the Gruppo dell’Amicizia in memoria di Enrica Inglese will award three more prizes, valued at $1000 each, to teachers who have shown a particular interest in teaching Italian.

A qualified jury is examining the applications to determine the winners, which will be announced in the next edition of IN CLASSE, to be published in Il Globo and La Fiamma on Thursday, October 22.

The number of students who participated in the competition also exceeded expectations.

Students from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory entered.

Primary students wrote about the nationality of their grandparents and parents, both from Italy and from other countries.

Meanwhile, students from Years 10 to 12 expressed their thoughts on the topical issue of racism.

Not all entries have arrived at the La Fiamma headquarters, due to postage delays caused by the pandemic, but organisers have ensured all entries will be received.

The winners of the competition will be announced in the December edition of IN CLASSE, to be published in Il Globo and La Fiamma on Thursday, November 26.

The initiative was well received by the community and was made possible thanks to the generosity and work of volunteers and sponsors.