University challenged over block on degree

July 18, 1997

AN ITALIAN student has taken her university to the European Court of Human Rights over its decision to block her graduation because she has completed her degree in three years rather than the four demanded by Italian law.

Anna Pagura passed the last of her 23 statutory exams in history and psychology last month at the Ca' Foscari University in Venice, less than three years after she matriculated. But a 1938 law not revised since it came into force in the Fascist era states that degree courses must "last four years".

Ms Pagura will be unable to enrol on a postgraduate course in October unless her case is supported by the European Commission for Human Rights. "My request is also a cultural one - I hope public opinion will become sufficiently sensitised to help bring our Italian education system up to European standards on this and other issues," Ms Pagura said.

Although there have been similar cases of students completing courses more quickly than the law demands, this appears to be the first case in Italy of a legal contest ahead of graduation.

No one from the university was available to comment.

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