Italy's main student union has launched a national campaign against advertising by Italy's largest private tuition firm, which uses Alex Del Piero, star player of Juventus football club, and Valentino Rossi, 250cc world motorcycle champion, as testimonials for their services.
According to the left-wing Unione Degli Universitari, the Centro Europeo Preparazione Universitaria, which boasts it has got its clients through 85,000 exams in the past eight years, is profiting from the inefficiencies of the state university system.
The main thrust of the UDU campaign is against posters in the universities that show a smiling Del Piero or Rossi saying how easy it was to pass exams thanks to the CEPU.
It is also protesting against a similar nationwide campaign on television and street hoardings. The campaign will include anti-private tutoring conferences and rallies in universities, pressure on university administrators to ensure that university lecturers do not also work for CEPU and similar firms and a "mail-bombing" campaign against the university ministry.
The CEPU has 105 offices all over Italy and 3,500 tutors, officially mainly graduate students. The cost of being guided through an exam is about Pounds 1,000. The CEPU and similar firms have been accused of employing moonlighting lecturers - in some cases members of examination boards - but the CEPU has denied the charges.
A university ministry statement warned university staff against collaborating with private tutorial services, but it was not clear what disciplinary action would be, or could be, applied under Italian law.