ROME – The European Students’ Union (ESU) fears that deregulating the Italian higher education sector will have a very negative impact on the future of academic degrees. In an attempt to liberalise their economy, the Italian government wants to give universities carte blanche as to who can give academic diploma’s and wants to get rid of the legal validity of degrees. “This idea should be abandoned as soon as possible as it may lead to a loss of quality of university programmes.” said Allan Päll, Chair of ESU on 9 February.
The recently installed Italian government wants to lift the accreditation system of university degrees. According to Rome, there is no need for any accreditation regulation as the market will do its work: good programmes will continue to exists while ‘bad' degrees will cease to exist. ESU however, fears that this may eventually lead to loss of the legal recognition of degrees.
Päll said: “We call upon the Italian government to carefully protect the legal validity of degrees and to allocate more money to higher education instead of cutting back on it”. As the plans have led to big protests from different stakeholders groups, among who Unione degli Universitari (UDU, ESU member), the Italian government has postponed the adoption of the decree to, most likely, end of February.
Päll concluded: “This is not just a sector of the market as any other. This is about the future of people’s lives, about the future of a society. This cannot just be handed over to the free market which, as we have seen in the past years, is anything but perfect.”
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