By Marzia De Giuli
MILAN, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- Like thousands of Italian students, 21-year-old Jacopo Lanza took to the streets in Milan on Friday to demonstrate against "the sale of public schools and destruction of universities."
"We are protesting to show our opposition to a proposed law which would enable private companies to enter our schools while eliminating student representatives in school boards," Lanza, a political science student belonging to the student activists' network Rete della Conoscenza, told Xinhua.
Some 8,000 students took the streets in Milan, and thousands of other young Italians demonstrated in 90 cities across the country "to highlight the dramatic situation suffered by students who have been hit by the economic crisis in an unprecedented way and who only ask for a better future for the country," he said.
"There are essentially two reasons why we cannot see our future. First, our voice is being less and less listened to. And secondly, since 2008 public funding cuts have especially hit the education sector, which is vital instead for any country which aims at developing in the long term," Lanza added.
Lanza said in Lombardy region, whose capital city is Milan, 80 percent of public funds is used to finance private schools, while the public ones are "in desperate conditions."
Other "unjustifiable" cuts are being planned for 2013, a representative of the Italian Students' Union, 19-year-old Carmen Guarino, told Xinhua. "It is impossible to exit the crisis without investing in the education field," Guarino added.
According to the protesters, tax increases for students who have not completed their university studies and the reduction of scholarships will prohibit many from attending university.
"I feel it is enormously unfair that so many friends of mine risk not to be able to complete their courses of study due to lack of resources, or are forced to work without salary for months or years before they can find a stable job," an engineering student in Milan, Giulio Franchini, said.
"The only way to change the future of our recession-hit country is to invest in its young generations, and it is time that our governors realize it," he said.