PM Renzi Presents Reform to Boost Italy's Sub-standard Schools

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi unveiled long-delayed education reforms on Thursday that he said would raise the quality of sub-standard schools which are often blamed for Italy's weak economic performance. The wide-ranging bill aims to increase the powers of head-teachers in staff promotion and management, reduce class sizes and, from 2016, offer pay increases based on merit rather than just seniority. After the cabinet backed the legislation which will now begin its passage through parliament, Renzi told reporters, "This is the key reform for our country and we are convinced and proud of it." The Bank of Italy and international bodies say the state of Italy's education system carries much of the blame for more than a decade of growth and labor productivity stagnation