Sunday, October 19, 2008

Going political

I might have mentioned that when I came to Italy, I happened to land at the beginning of school reform. Or what the hell.
First, the study plans changed. Which is a little bit irritating on one hand, on the other hand, I just have a different list of things to do than what I would have last year.
Second and more important, there's a new law, according to which the government funding for universities should be cut by 1.5 billion euros in the next five years, scholarships were cut by one third this year, universities should transform to institutions with private funding. There are things related to primary and secondary education which are not of my interest but the cuts are on all levels and people are pissed.
Personally, I don't find anything wrong with privately run universities (or any other schools). I suppose that great part of the students wouldn't mind either. The issue is that there are over 80 state universities in Italy, some of them damn big and should all or majority of them become private, it would conclusively mean high school fees, division to education-only institutions and research institutions and I sincerely doubt that many would bother with research. As I know the human nature, it may end all university research because it doesn't earn money and the three persons that would like to be scholars would find their way to some research-friendly land.
Another thing that scares the local folk is that cutting the funds may lead to limiting the access to universities. Now, you bring your secondary school papers, fill in a few forms, cough up some money in fees (for this semester, it's some 350 euros which I wouldn't call a negligible sum) and start going to the lectures. I grew up in a system where entrance exams are normal and where I started studying with other 17 folks picked from the crowd of several hundred so I don't see it as much of a problem but here people see it as an attack to one of the basic human rights.
So, on Thursday (I'm late with blogging, as always), the action of the day was Lessons in the Streets. I must say that I supported the revolutionary effort by spending most of the day sitting on the stairs of the loggia of Brunelleschi's Ospedale dei Innocenti and I have a terrible back ache even today but I did my part.

Professor Tigler (the grey-haired guy) gave a lecture on paleochristian and Romanesque sources of inspiration in Brunelleschi's architecture. Well picked theme, regarding the location.

No to the 133 - the 133/2008 law is the one against which we are protesting. The banners read Art goes to streets and Class for all compared to university for a few. (The huge one in red and white at the background is for the museum in the building.)

I found a bit of the news, too. Yours truly is somewhere far left from the picture, though. I didn't manage to embed the video so check here

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