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On 12 October, thousands of Italian students took to the streets to demonstrate against the cuts in the funding of public education in the country. The protests were organised in different Italian cities by the Union of University students and more are expected to take place on 16 and 17 November, on the occasion of the International Students’ Day. Their slogan is “Who is afraid to change? Not us!”.
The students are protesting against the self-proclaimed “government of change”, which, in the students’ opinion, is going nowhere but backwards. They claim that the government keeps on promising a better future for the country, but constantly overlooks those who really represent its future: the students. The public education sector has been subjected to funds cut worth EUR 8 billion in the last ten years and is failing in duly shaping the new generations with the skills needed by the current job market.
All this is symptomatic, the protesters stress, of a political modus operandi which keeps on putting public education in the background. Students are sick and tired of not being given the attention and the support they need in order to pursue quality studies and open themselves to concrete career possibilities in their country, instead of being put in the situation to emigrate. But even the “government of change” has opted for another measure to increase growth in Italy, with the introduction of an unemployment income (which has been heavily criticized by Brussels, since it will entail an augmentation of the public deficit to more than the allowed 2.4%) which is now waiting to be approved by the Parliament.