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Open Letter to Institutions and Students – Milan, 3 November 2008

Students can only be attentive and worried by the events that affect the University with particular reference to our university, the Politecnico di Milano. We write this open letter because we would like to invite everyone to identify this difficult moment as an important opportunity for renewal and improvement of the Italian university system.

We do not share the ongoing protest movement which, although animated by the desire to defend and improve the Italian university system, in our opinion does not express a real proposal for reform of this and risks compromising its image already widely distorted among public opinion that marks it as inefficient, wasteful and attached to its privileges. In fact, it must be considered that many components of the system have clearly indefensible characteristics. It is a fact that 26 universities have a "fixed checks / FFO" ratio of more than 90%, that is, outlawed, of which 2 are greater than 100%. The proliferation of branch offices is a certainty. The opacity of the competition system is a well-founded doubt.

However, we are concerned about the lack, upstream of L 133, of a strategic reform with a long-term perspective that ensures a future for the Italian university.

We want to emphasize that we are not a priori against cuts when placed in a context of recession and marked growth of the FFO in past years. However, we are certainly against indiscriminate cuts, "rain", which do not take into account the objective differences in the quality of teaching, management and research of some universities compared to others. It should also be considered that these cuts could compromise the line of development undertaken by the Politecnico di Milano*, already at the top of the Italian university, with the ambition to rank among the best technical schools in Europe in the coming years.

In light of this, we want to propose a concrete project of improvement that starts from modifying the current system of funding universities to the advantage of a new one, based entirely on a set of objective indicators of university quality. We want a MERITOCRATIC university, which promotes the recognition of the merit of students in the university and in the world of work, which rewards the best teachers and the best research, which guarantees the same services to deserving students regardless of social origin, sure that it can bring advantage to the whole country.

In this regard, it is proposed to open a discussion table between the parties at the ministerial level that we hope to be confident of modifying the system from the base and putting a solution to the harmful and counter-productive situation with which we are currently confronted. At the same time, we support the initiative mentioned by the rector of the "Merit Project", with a view to promoting, measuring and recognizing merit and redistributing resources according to parameters that take into account quality.

Confident in renewal and dialogue, we give thanks.

Svoltastudenti – Politecnico di Milano

*The Politecnico di Milano has distinguished itself for its effectiveness in its educational mission and in research (the peer review, the international evaluation has recognized that 39% of the teachers belong to groups considered excellent at international level and judged overall the research in the university good at international level, July 2008, ilSole24Ore); for efficiency in administration (Quality Award of Public Administrations 2007 and 2008); for the efficiency demonstrated by the overall increase in the spaces made available to students (classroom places, study, computerized classroom, beds); for the ratio "assegniFissi/ FFO" (incidence of personnel expenses on FFO) of 66%, the lowest after the University of Catanzaro, which however is a small university (35 ML€ of FFO 2008), Corsera, 3 /11/2008.