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Revamp to follow poll win

ITALY

A shake-up of Italy's recently restructured education system is likely following TV magnate Silvio Berlusconi's victory in Sunday's general election.

Berlusconi's right-wing alliance La Casa delle Libert... ("The House of Freedoms"), which includes the separatist Lega Nord (Northern League) and the ex-fascists of Alleanza Nazionale, wants to restore the distinction between primary schools (scuole elemetari) and middle schools (scuole medie), which were fused into a single scuola di base earlier this year.

As a spokesperson for the allance put it, "a primary school teacher can't be expected to teach young teenagers, and a scuola media teacher faced with a class of six-year-olds is likely to put her hands in her hair in desperation".

Some regions have introduced vouchers to help fund private schooling, but Berlusconi is seeking 100 per cent subsidies for parents choosing the private sector - a stance likely to be fiercely opposed by supporters of the state system.

The Casa delle Libert... intends to give parents more choice and more of a say in how schools are run.

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