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'Compulsory secondary education up to the age of fourteen had been introduced in 1962, and with it many students decided to continue their education up to university level. Thousands flocked into universities, and the student population increased by over 180,000 between 1960 and 1968.'
'While students who failed exams were not required to leave the university, drop-out rates soared and by 1968 had reached over 50%. Hardest hit by the nature of the universities were students from working class backgrounds whose families could not afford to pay fees. Often having to work two jobs to keep themselves in education, many 'worker-students' found it impossible to attend regular lectures, and made up the great majority of those dropping out.'
With the increase in the availability of further education, thousands of young workers were experiencing the radicalising effect of the universities, and many brought this fresh perspective on their situation back to the factories once their education had finished. This new awareness, coupled with the changing needs of workers in the factories was soon to find expression in the many revolutionary groups that would penetrate the factories and take class struggle in the northern industrial belt to its height.
These conditions in the factories perpetuated throughout the mid-60s, until, in 1968, unrest in the northern factories exploded into mass struggle.'
'A look at the data the evolution of job qualifications at Alfa shows, for example, that many workers were moving up the professional ladder during the 1970s, with the relative composition of the workforce in Arese shifting from a highly deskilled one towards a more qualified one. In September 1970, slightly more than 70% of the employees in Arese were categorised as unskilled, with only 21% of them certified as “skilled”. At the end of 1975, the percentage of unskilled workers had crumbled to only 23%.'