Italy tells of cell hell

March 7, 2003

When it comes to the love affair Italians have with their cellphones, even examinations are not sacrosanct.

Students have complained to a national newspaper about being repeatedly interrupted by the ring of professors' mobiles during oral examinations.

During such examinations, students are questioned by the examining academic and months of study are evaluated in a brief interview - an ordeal at the best of times.

Students claim that some academics hold up a hand for silence and then proceed with lengthy personal conversations.

In one case the professor told the student, "carry on, I'm listening", while speaking into his phone.

La Sapienza University physicist Carlo Cosmelli said: "I want to apologise for that academic, whom I am ashamed to call a colleague.

"But what can a student do? Making a scene on the spot is obviously dangerous for the student. You can't ask a student in those circumstances to be a hero."

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