Interested to read this article in the Guardian’s higher education section this week, based on a report by the OECD which claims that Italian and indeed Spanish graduates are less skilled compared to other nationalities, which therefore reflects directly on the unemployment rates. The report places graduates form these Southern European countries at the bottom of a table based on a literacy test, with – you’ve guessed it – Japanese graduates at the top.
I’m not sure if this any truth in the fact that a poor performance does in fact have repercussions on unemployment – this is due to a number of other factors at least as far as Italy is concerned. The OECD conclusion is in fact largely dismissed by a leading professor at LUISS university in Rome.
Duncan McDonnell of the EUI also comments that university exams, as high school tests, are almost always oral which means they do not in fact develop their writing skills as much as they could, although they are obliged to write a lengthy dissertation at the end of their course.
Although Italian students might not learn how to write a good essay they do learn from quite an early age how to answer questions face to face with the teacher/professor, often with the rest of the class or peers as an “audience”. Surely an enormous skill in itself?