Private tutors defend that personal touch

November 13, 1998

Private tutorial services that get students through Italy's university exams are under fire.

Antonio Padoa Schioppa, president of Milan University law faculty, has demanded their prosecution on the grounds of deceitful advertising. He said they promised a degree "quickly and without effort".

Cramming schools have boomed because degrees are very exam-based and attendance is not compulsory. There is little or no personal contact between teacher and student, and little guidance. For fees of about Pounds 1,000 per exam, an agency will assign a tutor, often a moonlighting lecturer, specialised in getting people through a specific exam of the 20 to 30 exams required for a degree.

Stefano Campogrande, president of the CEPU consortium, a tutorial service with 96 branches, defended their work. "We have already helped 60,000 young people. The universities often do not provide the support students need. We do not cram them. We insist that they sign up for at least three exams and then create a personalised system for learning and a study programme. Through tutors we teach them to learn.

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