More than a whiff of corruption

July 24, 1998

Domenico Pacitti's experience is emblematic of the disease that afflicts Italian universities. Merit has no place in a feudal patriarchy poorly disguised as a modern liberal democracy. Education minister Luigi Berlinguer's attempts to reform the notorious university system are doomed to failure for two reasons. First, Italians have no history of reform of any kind; second, Berlinguer, himself a product of the corrupt system, is incapable of the radical surgery that is required because 40 per cent of his political colleagues are also professors.

Your readers should understand that an Italian university cannot be compared to its European counterpart. The same goes for the connotations of terms like professor, examination, degree. It is difficult for those of us who have worked in these degenerate institutions to explain to outsiders how appalling the situation is. Examples risk being seen as rare exceptions when they are the norm.

The university system - in truth a conspiracy against education - is by now irredeemable and ought to be demolished and the students sent to real universities throughout the European Union. This is the only reform that makes sense. But in the moral vacuum that is Italy, there is no chance of this.

Instead, Berlinguer will consign the entire festering system over to the Mafia, to the masonic cliques and the nameless business and political groups that have poisoned generations of young Italians. Corruption breeds corruption.

Paul Hyde

Lisserlough, County Sligo Ireland

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