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Giliberto Capano

This chapter, which is devoted to the principal features of education

policies in 2001, opens with two facts relating to each of the

two sectors involved – school and university. Since the year 2001

was an election year which thus saw two different governments,

it seems appropriate to point out the characteristic traits of each

government in their handling of the two sectors in question. A

direct comparison will underline any similarities and differences in the strategy and actions of the public policies pursued by both

the outgoing and the incoming government.

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Giliberto Capano

The education policies of Berlusconi’s fourth government have been

characterized by a certain decision-making efficiency, when compared

with those of the governments that immediately preceded it (both Prodi

III and Berlusconi II and III). In fact, in the first two and a half years of the 16th Legislature, there have been decisions that will have a significant

impact on the educational system, and it should be emphasized

that many of these have actually been put into effect or are in the

first stage of implementation. The minister of education, Mariastella

Gelmini, has therefore clearly shown greater decision-making abilities

than her predecessors. She has taken advantage of the fact that she

has been able to develop her strategy via a “financial” route, with

educational rule-making informed by Law No. 133/2008, which contains

“urgent measures for economic development and for the simplification,

competitiveness, and stabilization of public finance and tax

equalization.”

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Giliberto Capano and Marco Giuliani

During the course of 2002, political news frequently focused on the

formal procedures and the informal dynamics of the workings of the

Italian Parliament. In a number of striking cases—international letters

“rogatory,” false accounting, “legitimate suspicion,” the “objective

law,” the conflict of interests, the law of delegation on employment,

the sending of troops abroad, and so on—journalists have had to

adapt their vocabulary, usually very careful of internal party and interparty

equilibria but superficial when it comes to parliamentary matters,

to the novelty of the subject at hand. However, it is not only

because of these headline stories that the country’s most important

representative institution deserves closer analysis. Parliament and its

relationship with the second Berlusconi government have created a

series of expectations over the past year: a form of political bi-polarity

free of “underhanded dealings” and “about-turns”; a tough battle

between a government coalition comforted by its parliamentary

majority and an opposition reunited in its struggle against the common

enemy.