In this interesting report of UE on education’s expenditure in European Countries, it is possible to see Italy’svery bad behavior. Our country is dealing the crisis by decreasing education’s budget (see in particular p. 25). This strategy is mistaken, since, how it results from the annual statistical report realized by ISTAT (see in particular p. 7), companies with a high level education CEO are more able to address recession.
These budget’s cuts to education, accomplished above all by Berlusconi’s ministry Tremonti, must not be confused with reforms proposed by Education’s ministry Gelmini. The last ones has been not so relevant for our education system. Indeed their main aim was to hide budget’s cuts behind a political screen.
In particular in one point, according to me, Gelmini’s reform of hierarchical structure in University has been an improvement. In Italy all academic positions of coordination, as chancellor and dean, are elective. Moreover the financial administration of public universities depends above all on professors. On one side, this situation has a remarkable value, since teachers and researchers are responsible of the governance of their institutions and they are not simple employees. Moreover our governance is strongly democratic. On the other side, this formula has two big shortfalls: 1. Deans and chancellor are not able to propose and to promote a coherent policy, because they are often dependent on a myriad of particular interests of people who elected them; 2. professor’s financial administration favored a general policy in which most part of money was used to create jobs, and not to improve the quality of research and didactic. According to the new reform, a professor could be elected chancellor only once, and rest in charge during six years; so he can realize actually his policy, without too many compromises. Someone have spoken of an excessive power of chancellor; but one has to remind that they are elected by all workers of the university. Moreover the chancellor has a strong control on the new financial council of the university. And the last one involves not only people from the university, but a significant number of external members, which not necessarily have the majority.
It seems to me that this reform improved our democratic and autonomous education’s system, without transforming excessively its nature.