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Italian academics protest reforms

Last month, the Italian Parliament approved a debated reform proposed by University and Research Minister Letizia Moratti that eliminates permanent contracts for all but professors and establishes a national exam for those who wish to qualify as a professor.

Marta Paterlini

Last month, the Italian Parliament approved a debated reform proposed by University and Research Minister Letizia Moratti that eliminates permanent contracts for all but professors and establishes a national exam for those who wish to qualify as a professor. More than 50,000 university members protested in Rome, and the universities appealed to President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, who must sign all measures approved by Parliament before they become law.

"The reform is extremely messy, does not ameliorate the current situation, and penalizes those outside the system, that is, the young generation," says Giulio Peruzzi, a historian of physics and science at Padua University. Flaminia Saccà, a sociologist at Cassino University and member of the opposition party, agrees. "As it stands, the reform will, if anything, make the already precarious life of young researchers even more insecure and does not solve the chronic plague of patronage of this country, because Moratti does...

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