Warning over plans of Italian far-right medicine

Italy needs more doctors, but a proposal by far-right parties to postpone entrance exams to the end of the first year would be disastrous, according to a center-left academic against them.

Giorgia Meloni’s far-right Brothers of Italy party, which has led polls of voting intentions since May, wants to replace national entrance exams for medicine with an open entry system for the first year of study, and shift selective exams to the start of the second year. .

“Italian universities do not have the capacity to sponsor this many students,” Andrea Crisanti, a professor at Imperial University of London A candidate for the center-left Democratic Party, said Times Higher Education.

For every student attending medical school, there are at least five applications. Prof Crisanti, who stands in the Italian Senate’s foreign constituency, which represents Italian voters abroad, said that multiplying the number of students by six would lead to the collapse of Italian universities.”

Andrea Gavosto, director of the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation, an educational think-tank, wrote in analysis That change would mean an additional 50,000 students would be enrolled nationally. With additional teachers, lectures and lab space, the bid cost an additional €200m (£174m) a year.

Giliberto Capano, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at University of BolognaHe said the idea of ​​postponing the selection was presented to voters as an end to the national cap on student numbers. “The way it is framed, on Twitter, on Facebook, in public speeches, is seen by ordinary people as a proposal to abolish Clausus number‘, referring to the cover.

The Italian brothers also wish to end the standard length of degrees brought by the Pan-European reforms under the Bologna process. Professor Capano said the change from the three-year bachelor’s and two-year master’s degrees would bring Italian universities out of sync with other universities on the continent and would likely be opposed by universities.

One of the issues with which the leading parties of the right and left seem to be aligned is a return to meritocracy in selecting students and academics. The theme is run by the Brothers of Italy programme, and Professor Crisanti said the Italian system needed a reform based on “transparency, accountability and merit-based selection”.

“We need to compare the universities that are competing with each other, to make sure that they are selecting the most talented, and who are not, we need to implement a system that sanctions them,” he said.

Aside from raising standards per se, the move toward merit would make universities more attractive and accessible to researchers abroad, who, he said, are often left out. because of favoritism. “It’s not just impermeable to them, it’s impervious to any other Italian who is not within that specific ring of contact,” he said.

Professor Crisanti, who met with Italian academics in the diaspora during his election campaigns in Switzerland, France, Belgium and the United Kingdom, said, Existing tax breaks for returning scholars were not enoughAnd that there is a need for a new system for research grants.

Other Italian academics can take a somewhat optimistic stance ahead of the September 25 elections: whoever wins, the education sector It is set to receive more than 20 billion euros from the European Union’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund.

“Part of the increase in public funding has to come, by law, to hire more academics,” Professor Capano said. “The academic world is not interested in what’s going on because they think, ‘We’ll get some money for a few years; Let’s let them say what they want.”

ben.upton@timeshighereducation.com

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