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A prompt cabinet reshuffle in Italy has not only brought a new Prime Minister and an almost completely new team of ministers, but also a formal change for Italian higher education and research policy. Stefania Giannini, a linguist by education, has been appointed new minister of education, universities and research, replacing former minister Maria Chiara Carrozza.
Stefania Giannini studied linguistics at the University of Pisa and the University of Pavia and has since then pursued an academic career. In 1991 she became a professor at University for Foreigners Perugia, a state-supported university focussing on foreign students for the Italian language and culture, and held chairs for phonetics and phonology, sociolinguistics and diachronic linguistics. In 2004 she became rector of the same university, a position she held until last year when she started her political career. She became senator for the liberal-centrist party Civic Choice (Scelta Civica), led by former Prime Minister Mario Monti, which formed an electoral coalition with other.
The new minister of education, universities and research has not yet presented any specific reform plans in detail, however, she already drew some attention by suggesting to reintroduce the famous Italian bonus maturità – the inclusion of school leaving examination results in addition to the results of university entrance exams (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, September 2013).