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Italy senate approves education reforms
Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:9PM
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Students protest against the government-proposed education reforms which are being discussed in the Italian senate, in Rome, Wednesday, December 22, 2010.
The Italian senate has approved controversial reforms in the education system proposed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in a bid to tackle the country's public debt.

The reforms set forth by Berlusconi sparked mass demonstrations across Italy on Wednesday as students protested the cuts which are aimed at saving the country billions of dollars.

The protests followed last week's violent demonstrations triggered when the Italian prime minister survived a confidence-vote motion.

The reforms would cut the number of courses and faculties, reduce funding for grants and introduce non-academic university deans to the education system.

The bill was passed by 161 votes to 98 with six abstentions in the senate where Berlusconi and his political allies have a large majority.

President Giorgio Napolitano will now sign the bill into law.

Italy is currently spending less than 5 percent of its Gross Domestic Product on education which is much lower than many developed countries.

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