Italian medics accused of corruption and nepotism

September 30, 2005

Yet another judicial investigation has revealed nepotism and corruption in assigning teaching posts at Italy's universities. The latest in a series of exposes of concorsi - national competitive exams to identify the best candidate for the job - focuses on universities in Tuscany and their medical schools.

Telephone taps of suspected baroni - senior academics in a position to offer patronage - recorded conversations on how to eliminate an applicant with an impressive 600-point score, based on publications, so that a chosen candidate with just 120 points could be given the post.

One senior medical academic has been charged, and will stand trial in March, for allegedly advancing the career of his mistress, who is 28 years younger than him, by creating profiles for concorsi made-to-measure for her curriculum vitae.

Piero Tosi, president of the Italian Rectors' Conference and rector of Siena University, said: "The solution is the creation of a new agency to evaluate quality, an agency independent of the ministry and of the universities. This would publish its findings and so put pressure on each university to choose the best person."

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