Teaching association insists parents abide by current vaccination law

A national teaching association has said parents will have to present vaccination certificates from the national health service, ASL, before their children start at nurseries in September.

Teaching association insists parents abide by current vaccination law

ANP has staunchly come out against an amendment passed by Italy’s Senate earlier this week postponing the obligation for parents to present a certificate proving their children have been vaccinated before they can attend public nursery schools.

The amendment still needs a vote in the lower house of parliament, expected after the government recess, before becoming law.

If passed, the law would delay the mandatory measure introduced by the previous left-wing government until the 2019-2020 school year. Before then, the coalition government, which is made up of the vaccine-sceptic Five Star Movement (M5S) and the League, plans to introduce legislation that would give parents freedom of choice.

But ANP insists that when nurseries reopen in September, the current law must remain in force.

“If an ASL certificate is not presented then we cannot allow children to attend nurseries and kindergartens,” ANP said.

“We don’t want to raise walls and we hope we don’t reach that point, but as managers [of the school system] we are obliged to respect the laws in force.”

In early July the health ministry said parents no longer needed to provide documentation proving their children had been vaccinated and could instead ‘self-certify’.

“Self-certification needs to be verified,” ANP added.

The current law, which sparked heated public debate when it took effect, stipulates that children cannot enroll in a creche or kindergarten unless they have been vaccinated against measles as well as nine other diseases. All of these vaccinations are offered free of charge, and parents who failed to comply face fines of up to €500, unless there was a medical reason for not getting the vaccines.

Previously only four vaccines – not including measles – were mandatory, and M5S leader Luigi Di Maio, now deputy prime minister, suggested reverting to just these four with the addition of a compulsory measles vaccine.

In 2017, there were four deaths from measles in Italy and almost 5,000 cases of the disease in total, while the national measles immunization rate of 87 percent is far below the 95 percent threshold recommended by the World Health Organization.

A growing anti-vaccine movement in the country was thought to be one of the causes in the recent drastic rise in measles cases, and the M5S has been heavily criticized for its role in raising doubts over the efficacy of vaccinations. A law proposal put forward by the party in 2014 called for “better information and possible denial of administering vaccinations” and cited the debunked studies.


‘It’s their loss’: Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

The UK is missing out by barring highly skilled Italian graduates from accessing a new work visa, Italy's universities minister said on Wednesday.

'It's their loss': Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

Universities and Research Minister Cristina Messa said she was disappointed by the UK’s decision not to allow any graduates of Italian universities access to its ‘High Potential Individual’ work permit.

“They’re losing a big slice of good graduates, who would provide as many high skills…it’s their loss,” Messa said in an interview with news agency Ansa, adding that Italy would petition the UK government to alter its list to include Italian institutions.

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“It’s a system that Britain obviously as a sovereign state can choose to implement, but we as a government can ask (them) to revise the university rankings,” she said.

The High Potential Individual visa, which launches on May 30th, is designed to bring highly skilled workers from the world’s top universities to the UK in order to compensate for its Brexit-induced labour shortage.

Successful applicants do not require a job offer to be allowed into the country but can apply for one after arriving, meaning potential employers won’t have to pay sponsorship fees.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP.

The visa is valid for two years for those with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and three years for PhD holders, with the possibility of moving into “other long-term employment routes” that will allow the individual to remain in the country long-term.

READ ALSO: Eight things you should know if you’re planning to study in Italy

Italy isn’t the only European country to have been snubbed by the list, which features a total of 37 global universities for the 2021 graduation year (the scheme is open to students who have graduated in the past five years, with a different list for each graduation year since 2016).

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL Switzerland, Paris Sciences et Lettres, the University of Munich, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute are the sole European inclusions in the document, which mainly privileges US universities.

Produced by the UK’s Education Ministry, the list is reportedly based on three global rankings: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Messa said she will request that the UK consider using ‘more up-to-date indicators’, without specifying which alternative system she had in mind.