I will tell you a story about myself.
I am 25 years old and I left Italy in October 2009, after having been awarded (in February) my MA degree with honour grades.
During the last months of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 I was involved in the student protest against the new Education Reform: merging different kinds of high school, bigger classes (more than 35 students), less humanistic subjects, cut to the number of teachers, closure of the smallest primary schools (in a territory like Italy, where the links between big cities and little towns are not easy at all), no afternoon for primary school and in general cuts to the fundings for public school in favor of fundings to private (mostly catholic school), cuts and privatization of public Universities (no more scholarship for poor students, destruction of departments with less than 50 senior lecturers, limited contracts for young researchers that can not be renewed for more than 3 years, teaching-post at 0 euro/month).
We organized a massive protest throughout six months, occupying Universities all across Italy.
We marched in Rome -students of every level from the kids of primary school to the young researchers- we were about a million and other protests were held at the same time other big Italian cities.
One of the few information program of the Public tv, Annozero, dedicated an entire episode to the Protest.
They called us `the Wave".
The first part of the reform, concerning high-school and primary school, became law a few days later.
I left in October 2009, with few hopes for coming back.
Tonight the same informative program is dedicating again an episode to the students-protest.
We did not stop fighting and now, after some months of quiet organization, students and researchers have been striking for more than one month all across Italy.
They occupied the major Italian monuments, starting from the Leaning Tower in Pisa, then the Colisseum; they blocked railways, airports and highways.
All the universities are now occupied, the protest in Rome was bigger than last year's.
Still the second part of the reform passed in the Lower branch without problems.
Italian University is far from perfect, in some places professors comes all from the same family (!), there are faculties which offer far too specialized fields of study. It is all true.
On the other end, we are the country in Europe that spends less in research and education, where even the private sectors do not want to invest in; even if our researchers are highly productive and gladly welcomed all over the world (and therefore are producing richness!).
Now, my tiny hope for a better Italy has just gone.