Rome, May 24 - Italy's education minister threatened to step down if more resources were not allocated to schools. "Either there's room to reinvest in state schools or I should quit acting as education minister," said Maria Chiara Carrozza in an interview with Radio 24. Investing in education "is crucial to the future of the country. There aren't other possible avenues". Italy has endured sweeping austerity cuts since the end of 2011 when the country's borrowing costs nearly soared out of control and a Greece-like disaster was feared. Like other public services, state schools have suffered. But earlier this month, education spending was made exempt from future cuts that may come into force to help finance a 40-billion-euro payback of public debt to private-sector companies. Carrozza said shielding education from cuts is not enough. "The situation is startling," she said. "We need to invest in school buildings and teachers. We need an army of new teachers. The future of our country depends on it".