Exam feels the force of Berlusconi

11th July 2003 at 01:00
ITALY

A clumsy attempt to flatter Italy's prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has brought the country's school-leaving exams into disrepute.

Students taking the exam in June were given a choice of four essay titles.

One option quoted Mr Berlusconi directly. Beneath the title "Water: the source of life" candidates read: "To provide food we need water. We have to invest to guarantee the availability of water."

It turned out that the citation was from Silvio Berlusconi, addressing the 2002 World Food Day conference in Rome.

Another title, on political repression in the 20th century, referred to French writer Stephane Courtois's The Black Book of Communism, a work frequently cited by the prime minister.

"When are we going to see free copies of the collected works of Silvio Berlusconi distributed in every school?" asked opposition leader Piero Fassino. Another commentator said Mr Berlusconi was suffering from an excessive personality cult reminiscent of the deposed Romanian tyrant Nicolae Ceauscescu.

The outspoken Mr Berlusconi owns three major television channels, a national daily newspaper, a publishing house and a weekly news magazine - as well as European football champions AC Milan. He is currently in trouble with the European Union for accusing a German MEP of behaving like a Nazi camp guard.

Nobody can remember a previous instance of a quotation by a serving prime minister being used as an essay title. The school-leaving exam always begins with an essay on a general topic. The titles are chosen by a group of school inspectors. According to the Milan newspaper, Corriere della Sera, the titles were proposed by an over-zealous inspector who is likely to be removed from next year's think-tank.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now