Streamlining entry into the labour market, shortening qualification periods and simplifying the procedures for exercising certain professions. A system was conceived with these goals in mind, rendering certain degrees qualifying without state exams.
Ending the state exams for professional certification is one of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan points. Starting on page 200, the plan reads: “The reform simplifies the qualification procedures for exercising professions by merging degree and state exams, thus simplifying and speeding up the entry of graduates into the labour market”.
More specifically, graduation and state exams will be held simultaneously for some professions, allowing graduates to practise immediately.
This amendment, however, will not apply to all degrees. The state exams for lawyers, accountants, architects or journalists, chemists, engineers, notaries and doctors, for example, will not be scrapped. This provision will apply only to single-cycle postgraduates (EQF Level 7) in Dentistry, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine and Psychology. Successfully passing the degree exams will entitle graduates to a licence and registration for these four categories.
The reform also affords graduates with professional degrees in construction and territory, agricultural, food and forestry techniques or industrial techniques the possibility of practising professions such as surveyor, agrotechnician, agricultural expert and industrial expert without a subsequent state exam.
Now set into motion, qualifying degrees for most faculties should be an irreversible process.
As things stand, the rule is regulated by the “Siliquini decree“, finally approved on 29 March 2006, which identifies the professions requiring professional licensing exams.
There are very severe penalties for practising without a licence. Article 348 of the Italian Penal Code, which governs the so-called ‘abusive exercise of a profession’ offence, states that anyone practising without a licence is liable to imprisonment for a term of between six months and three years and a fine of between €10,000 and €50,000.
The landscape began shifting with the Manfredi bill, named after former University Minister Gaetano Manfredi of the Conte II government. The proposal began its passage through the Chamber of Deputies’ Committee on 12 April.
Flavia Piccoli Nardelli of the Democratic Party (Italian: Partito Democratico, PD) political party said the following in the Chamber of Deputies’ Education Committee: “Now set into motion, qualifying degrees for most faculties should be an irreversible process: it assumes that the exemplary work done by professional bodies is transferred to the degree course. It requires an internal change in the organisation of degrees, yet it is a virtuous process, leading to simplification: we must all agree on this point”.
“I hope there will be a similar pathway for other degrees, even though this is not currently in the cards. Instead, it is right to immediately provide traineeships and qualifying degrees for the medical professions as they already do in other countries”, commented Valentina Aprea of Forza Italia, a member of the Chamber of Deputies’ Education Committee.
All degrees should be qualifying: the current formulation is linked to another era
The reference to the medical professions is not obvious. At the height of the last year, the Cura Italia decree qualified for a degree in medicine: a solution created as an exception with the aim of providing support, in terms of personnel, to hospitals in great difficulty.
However, a broader reasoning behind this shift in the qualification process can be found in the words of former University Minister Manfredi: “All degrees should be qualifying: the current formulation is linked to another era. While every professional association has its own particular concerns and needs to be worked on, there still is plenty of headroom. The qualifying degree constitutes a major upgrade in the approach to professions and gives a role to the associations in education and training: their internships become part of the curriculum. Reaching this goal is certainly something we have to do together”.
The project’s ultimate goal is to bridge the time gap between graduation and the first useful session of the state exam and immediately encourage young people to enter the workforce.
Minister for Universities and Research Cristina Messa also said as much to the Education and Culture Committees of the Chamber of Deputies and Senate. She stressed that “the government is committed to concluding the bill on qualifying degrees by the end of the year, and I trust that there will be a broad consensus across the political spectrum”.