Apr 11, 2014

Pleasure Land: Italy is at the last place in Europe for young adults with a college degree

In 2013, the highest proportions of those aged 30 to 34 having completed tertiary education were observed in Ireland (52.6%), Luxembourg (52.5%), Lithuania (51.3%), Sweden (48.3%), Cyprus (47.8%) and the United Kingdom (47.6%), and the lowest in Italy (22.4%), Romania (22.8%), Croatia (25.9%) and Malta (26.0%). You can read here the latest Eurostat results.
In Italy, 55% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, much less than the OECD average of 74% (OECD Better Life Index). The level of tertiary attainment among 25-64 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and G20 countries with available data: 14.9 %, rank 34/36 (OECD Education at Glance 2013, you can download the full report here). We could rename Italy The Pleasure Land, or Pleasure Peninsula or the Pleasure Pen- (prefix from Latin paene (“nearly, almost”) Island: The Pleasure Penisland.... A word to the wise.
You can watch below the scene of the arrival in The Land of Toys (Pleasure Island in the Walt Disney adaptation (1940).

And here’s the passage where Lamp-Wick describes the Land of Toys to Pinocchio, in the book by Carlo Collodi (pseudonym of Carlo Lorenzini) Le Avventure di Pinocchio: La storia di un burattino (1883; The Adventures of Pinocchio: The Story of a Marionette). You can read the whole book online here.

Pinocchio, instead of becoming a boy, runs away to the Land of Toys with his friend, Lamp-Wick...
"You are making a big mistake, Pinocchio. Believe me, if you don't come, you'll be sorry. Where can you find a place that will agree better with you and me? No schools, no teachers, no books! In that blessed place there is no such thing as study. Here, it is only on Saturdays that we have no school. In the Land of Toys, every day, except Sunday, is a Saturday. Vacation begins on the first of January and ends on the last day of December. That is the place for me! All countries should be like it! How happy we should all be!"
"But how does one spend the day in the Land of Toys?"
"Days are spent in play and enjoyment from morn till night. At night one goes to bed, and next morning, the good times begin all over again. What do you think of it?"
"H'm—!" said Pinocchio, nodding his wooden head, as if to say, "It's the kind of life which would agree with me perfectly."
 "Listen, Lamp-Wick," said the Marionette, "are you really sure that there are no schools in the Land of Toys?" "Not even the shadow of one."
"Not even one teacher?"
"Not one."
"And one does not have to study?"
"Never, never, never!"
"What a great land!" said Pinocchio, feeling his mouth water. "What a beautiful land! I have never been there, but I can well imagine it."