VENICE- You no speeka the English? Well then, signori, you will not be welcome at Italy's prestigious Ca’ Foscari and Bocconi universities.
La Stampa reports that Ca" Foscari, a 145-year-old public university in Venice, and Bocconi, the private Milan business and economics university, are requiring that all students enrolling for the next academic year to attest to their knowledge of English. The level must be at least equivalent of the European Union’s B1 (intermediate).
This follows the decision last year by Milan's Politecnico University to offer master's studies only in English. Italy's Minister for Higher Education Francesco Profumo stated then that students upon leaving high school should already have a workable level of English. But others expressed alarm at the measure. Linguist Luca Serianni from Rome’s La Sapienza University described the move as “excessive and not only in the ideological sense.”
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Arts & Philosophy Building at Ca" Foscari, Venice by Paolo Steffan
But Ca’ Foscari President Carlo Carraro says knowing English is a priority "in all fields, all professions. If you don’t know English you’re out. It’s also a question of culture: English is a language of connection.”
A criteria for which universities are allocated new resources is its internationalization. Ca’ Foscari university has had an increase of 30% in matriculation in just two years, so the mantra now is quality, not quantity. This new certification is just an additional filter during a period in which new staff cannot be hired, and the old staff can’t retire.