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The first evening schools opened in the first half of the nineteenth century under the pressure of the first civil strike organised by labor movements, with the main aim of reducing illiteracy. Major philanthropic actions contributed to the continued spread of Scuola Serale.
Beginning with elementary education, the first evening schools employed the educational process of "mutual education" (or mutual teaching) originated by British educators Andrew Bell and Joseph Lancaster, despite the scarcity of teachers. Initially, classes operated during the afternoon and evening. They were mainly frequented by peasants, workers and child laborers.
At the end of the century, provoked by a growing need to provide a complete technical and vocational training, evening classes spread in large industrial cities. Port technical schools helped initiate "Festive Sundays", a complement to the workshops that were only open on Sundays. Subsequently, these Sunday courses moved to the evening.