To the Rector and the organs of the Government
Politecnico of Milan
Appeal in defense of teaching freedom
The undersigned, professors and researchers from the Politecnico of Milan
1) The Academic Senate and the Board of Directors approved the 2012-2014 Strategic lines of the University, respectively in their meetings on 15.12.2011 and 20.12.2011, ;
2) Following such approval, at its meeting on 23.01.2012, the Senate approved the first steps on the internationalization of the University, providing the resources to cope, to make mandatory – without alternatives – teaching in English language for all Master’s Degree, from the college year 2014;
1) such measures, insofar as requiring the exclusive use of English for the provision of master’s degree courses, limiting the freedom of choice of teachers and students and the diversity of training, are in straight contrast to the Art. 33 of the Constitution, which provides that “The art and science are free and free is their teaching”;
2) they are also detrimental to the fundamental principle of equality contained in Art. 3 of the Constitution, to the extent that they introduce surreptitiously a policy of discrimination based on language, with certain effects, although not entirely predictable and manageable, on the careers of teachers and students;
3) under a different, but not less important profile, the resolutions referred above are, evidently, for unlawful violation of Article 271 royal decree of the 31st of August 1933 n. 1592, which provides that “Italian is the official language of teaching and examinations in all university establishments.” This rule, while in front of the many reforms that have affected the University and which have certainly led to the overtaking of many of its provisions, has never been repealed and is certainly still in force – and, indeed, strengthened – by the many university reforms occurred, with which the knowledge of Italian language is expected as indefectible condition for university access and for obtaining any academic qualification (so Ministerial Decree 270/04);
4) the challenged resolutions would come to distort the meaning of Article 2, paragraph 2, letter 1) of Law 240/10, which, in promoting the internationalization of the University, aims to promote integration between cultures – and not to impose one, moreover not his own, at the expense of others – and not to compress but to expand the provision of training;
5) neither seems to agree with the idea that this is done in the name of quality and excellence, being, on the contrary, evident that teaching in the mother tongue – and sometimes the Italian and not English is the mothertongue not only of teachers but also of the taught subject – is superior, for obvious reasons, than that given in a different language;
For all these reasons, the undersigned teachers of the Politecnico of Milan
this Administration not to give a further result of the resolutions adopted and, after suspending the effectiveness thereof, to cancel them to that extent.
We reserve the right, failing that, to protect our rights and interests in the relevant locations.
Milan, the 25th of April 2012
Follows 285 signatures of researchers and professor of the Politecnico of Milan.