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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Italy's education minister under fire for ‘humiliation’ remarks

Valditara had called for public humiliation of violent school students.

Italy's new education minister Giuseppe Valditara apologised on Thursday for saying that students who are violent in school should be "humiliated" in front of their peers by making them do "useful community service".

Valditara, 61, made the remarks at a conference in Milan on Monday and quickly found himself at the centre of a controversy.

Hailing humiliation as a "fundamental factor in growth and character formation", Valditara said that in this way the student "takes responsibility for his actions" and earns "redemption".

However after several days of criticism, Valditara admitted that the term he used was "certainly inappropriate" but stressed that his core message remained unchanged, reports La Stampa newspaper.

"Arrogance must be responded to by enhancing the culture of respect and limits and with the rediscovery of the fundamental value of humility", the minister said.

He added that he had been speaking in reference to "an objectively intolerable episode, that of a student who punched a teacher. I stated that suspending that boy for a year doesn't make much sense, much better making him responsible [for his actions] by making him carry out socially useful work for the school community".

Valditara also made headlines this week for reiterating his desire to ban cellphones in the classroom as well as removing the reddito di cittadinanza welfare benefit from young people who have not completed their compulsory schooling.

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