History of Higher Education in Italy

From the Middle Ages to the Italian unity
The Italian Peninsula as early as the Middle Ages was home to some universities such as ' Alma Mater Studiorum in Bologna , whose foundation dates back to 1088, the University of Padua was born in 1222 or the' University of Naples studies created by Frederick II of Swabia in 1224. In over the centuries others arose, such as the Siciliae Studium Generale in Catania in 1434; the Kingdom of Sardinia had issued in 1848 the first organic law reform in studies superiors with the Royal Decree of 4 October 1848 n. 818 (called the Boncompagni lawby the promoter Carlo Boncompagni di Mombello ), of a centralist and laicistic nature. The law provided for a governmental control of schools of all levels, both state and free, through the Higher Council of Education, which was responsible for the organization of studies, teaching plans, the approval of course programs and books and treaties adopted. The law also eliminated the episcopal authorization for the appointment of professors. With the law of 22 June 1857 and the subsequent regulation university councils were abolished and their tasks entrusted to the rectors and, for the parts of competence, to the councils of the university faculties .

In the years 1859 - 1860 , with the increase of the states annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia during the process of national unification and immediately after the unification of Italy , the problem of university unification also began to arise, among others; the number of universities. From the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies the University of Naples and the Sicilian ones of Messina, Palermo and Catania were inherited. From the Grand Duchy of Tuscany the universities of Siena, Pisa, and the Institute of Higher and Advanced Studies in Florence. From Lombardy the University of Pavia, from the Kingdom of Sardiniathe universities of Turin, Genoa, Cagliari and Sassari. And the annexation of much of the Papal States brought the universities of Bologna, Ferrara, Urbino, Perugia, Macerata and Camerino to the Kingdom. Finally, in 1866 the University of Padua was added, and after 1870 that of Rome.

The first fundamental approach was given by the Casati law of 1859 ("Law on the reorganization of public education"), launched on the occasion of the immediate merger of Lombardy and Piedmont. The structure given to higher education by this law was characterized by a state monopoly (private universities were not allowed) and by a strong ministerial centralization, with the direct appointment of ordinary and extraordinary professors and definition of the commissions that must examine them. The centralization was mitigated by margins of academic freedom both in the organization of teaching, and in the free competition between teachers, both in the freedom granted to students to regulate "the order of studies" and exams, even in the presence of a plan of official studies.

In 1861 , at the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, under the Cavour government , Francesco De Sanctis became the first Minister of Education in a united Italy, a position he also held under the Ricasoli government until 1862 .

De Sanctis presented to the Senate, in 1862 , a proposed law on the establishment of "normal" schools for the preparation of gymnasium and high school teachers. He was inspired by examples such as the École Normale Supérieure of Paris , the free seminars in Germany, the "philological seminary" of Pavia and the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa . The project, of only five articles, proposed the institution at some universities of upper secondary schools, in which the teaching would be entrusted, with a small additional indemnity, to the same university teachers. Some personalities of the time, such as Giosuè Carducci and Piero Gobetti , expressed themselves in this sense, intending to express their concern to maintain the great scientific institutions of national importance within the state without losing higher education in the autonomies.

In a bill by Carlo Matteucci , presented to the Senate in 1861 , it was identified in the excess of the institutions, "created in every state of the peninsula in competition with each other, with the consequent dispersion of the best men, and in the search for originality in the forms of organization, the main defect of the Italian university institutions "and proposes to establish a few complete centers of higher studies, the only ones qualified to issue degrees, in which the most successful professors, the richest collections and the best endowments were gathered for research and practical applications. Matteucci's proposal, in the meantime appointed Minister of Education, became law in 1862 (July 31, 1862) and classified Italian universities as primary and secondary. The universities of Bologna, Pavia, Pisa, Naples, Palermo and Turin (and later also Padua and Rome) were classified first class, while the universities of Cagliari, Catania, Genoa, Siena, Macerata, Messina, Modena and Parma were classified as a second class, thus benefiting from lower state funding.

The statist inspiration founded on the principle of the monopoly of the State in the higher education of the Casati law was reaffirmed in the subsequent reform wanted by Carlo Matteucci in 1862. This reform also brought forward a reduction plan for the universities then existing. The administrative and disciplinary management were entrusted to the Academic Council, a collegial body composed of the rector and the faculty deans. The Italian universities were divided into two classes. In the first class - with full government funding - only the 6 universities of Bologna, Naples, Palermo, Pavia, Pisa and Turin were included. Matteucci opposed the introduction in Italy of "free universities" to be entrusted to the initiative of municipalities, provinces and even private associations, convinced that universities needed state intervention to overcome economic difficulties and to achieve the goal of forming a modern, efficient and uniform ruling elite. There were however exceptions to the monopolistic principle: among these the 4 universities with autonomous government of Camerino, Ferrara, Perugia and Urbino, all in the States already pontifical.

The 1868 assumed the post of Minister of Education under the Cabinet of Luigi Menabrea , Emilio Broglio , that he held until 1869 . Broglio issued a new "University Regulation" tending to harmonize that of Brioschi and Matteucci with the spirit of the Casati law. In it, the faculties, even though they aroused free culture, also had to provide for professional purposes.

In 1872 the faculties of Theology of the Universities of the Kingdom were suppressed . This fact, as well as various episodes such as the dismissal of professors who refused to swear allegiance to the king and the Italian State culminated on 12 March 1876 with the closure of the University of Palazzo Altemps in Rome, made up of professors who had refused the oath of loyalty to the king, forms the basis of the push for the foundation of a Catholic university, which will be implemented in 1921 with the inauguration of the Catholic University of Milan and then in 1924 of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart .

In 1873 Ruggero Bonghi became minister and remained in office until 1876 . On 25 March 1876 Michele Coppino succeeds Bonghi, remaining in office until the end of 1877 . In 1873 , several veterinary schools of the Kingdom of Italy were authorized to issue a degree in Zooiatria , which until then had been the exclusive prerogative of the Parma Veterinary School . At the time, the zooiatria and the zootecnica were considered strategic activities for the states, beyond that for the necessities of the agricultural and breeding activities, above all for the military uses of the cavalry.

By decree dated 21 January 1874 , "Normal Schools" are created at the universities of Naples, Rome, Padua and Turin. In January 1881 , after repeated requests, the physician Guido Baccelli entered the government as Minister of Education , who will hold office until 1884 , then again from 1893 to 1896 and finally between 1898 and 1900 . In 1888 he became minister Paolo Boselli who remained in office until 1891 . He was succeeded by Pasquale Villari , in charge until 1892 , when he was appointedFerdinando Martini who will remain in office until 1893 . A few months after his inauguration, Minister Martini elaborated, with Carlo Francesco Ferraris , the umpteenth reform of the university, which this time included the closure of the universities of Macerata, Messina, Modena, Parma, Siena and Sassari. But the project encountered very strong resistance, in particular local ones, and was never presented .

Since the beginning of the twentieth century to the fascist
From the beginning of the twentieth century , with the spread of socialism , a dense network of " popular universities " was created in Italy . These were intended to spread education and culture at the popular level, acting as a stimulus for full political and cultural citizenship. The first important opening to private universities was carried out with a law of 1902, which recognized the rank of university, with the right to confer degrees, on the Luigi Bocconi School of Business Studies in Milan. A similar award was given in 1922 to the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan. However, the advent of fascism in Italy it decreed its closure.

The Gentile reformof 1923 (which involved all school education in an organic way) I will make a drastic reduction in the number of university institutions. The universities were classified into two categories, pursuant to RD September 30, 1923, No. 2102; those of Table A, complete with all the Faculties, with funding largely from the State (Bologna, Cagliari, Genoa, Naples, Padua, Palermo, Pisa, Rome and Turin) and the others included in Table B (including Bari , Florence and Milan), with the right to receive only a partial contribution from the State. For the universities in Table A, the reform also provided resources for both the salaries of professors and administrative staff, and for the funding of scientific research (entering a specific budget in the budget). The reform centered on the classical high school as a "main" school, which gave access to all university faculties. The gymnasium was conceived as the way to go after theelementary studies , by the future ruling classes. The gymnasium, in fact, prepared for all the secondary education levels , among which the classical high school stood out, which, providing the widest general culture, was the only one that allowed access to all the university faculties. The Gentile decree also provided for the existence of free universities, binding the legal recognition and the legal value of the academic titles to the adaptation of the regulations to the provisions of the same law. Among these were Perugia, Urbino, Camerino and Ferrara. In the same year the National Research Council (CNR) was established; a body for the coordination and promotion of research on a national scale, parallel to the universities.Vito Volterra . In the academic year 1931 / 1932 , students enrolled in Italian universities were 47,614.

In 1931 the university professors were sworn in to take loyalty to fascism , whose refusal led to the loss of the university chair . Out of over 1,200 academics, only twelve opposed a refusal. It was Ernesto Buonaiuti , Mario Carrara , Fabio Luzzatto , Francesco Ruffini , Edoardo Ruffini , Giorgio Levi Della Vida , Gaetano De Sanctis , Vito Volterra , Bartolo Nigrisoli , Lionello Venturi , Giorgio Errera and Piero Martinetti, who were excluded from university teaching. To these must be added Giuseppe Antonio Borgese who at the time of the imposition of the oath was in the United States where he decided to remain renouncing the chair of Aesthetics at the University of Milan. Finally, with RD August 31, 1933, n. 1592 the university system was completely regulated.

In 1935 , the higher institutes of agriculture , until then dependent on the Ministry of agriculture and forests, passed to the Ministry of Public Education and became university faculties of Agriculture . In 1938 , due to the racial laws , numerous professors, assistants and students were excluded from the University as Jews . Italy lost some of its most brilliant minds, such as Emilio Segrè , Enrico Fermi , Giuseppe Levi , Salvador Luria , Silvano Arieti , Bruno Rossi and Franco Rasetti, who decided to leave the country to remove themselves, or their relatives and relatives from persecution (as in the case of Fermi, who had married a Jew). In the academic year 1941 / 1942 , students enrolled in Italian universities were 145,793; women did not exceed 15-20% of the total.

After World War II to the Bologna process
In the second post-war period , the universities slowly resumed their normal activity, preserving, however, the rigid order imposed by fascism. With the birth of the Italian Republic the right to freedom of teaching and research was stated by the art. 33 of the Republican Constitution .

In the academic year 1951 /1952, students enrolled in Italian universities were 226 543. In 1967 began to register the first episodes of the student revolt with the occupation of ' Catholic University of Milan , born also for practical reasons, in particular by' increase in tuition fees approved by the academic senate that summer. In 1968 the student movement, which expanded to state universities, also involved secondary schools. Among the claims, strong criticism of the old student representative bodies stood out. Under the pressure of student protest in the sixty-eight, the law was issued December 11th 1969, n. 910 which liberalized access to universities by eliminating the constraint imposed by the Gentile reform which subordinated the condition of classical maturity as a condition to enroll .

In the 1980s some important reforms were launched, including the creation of university departments; moreover with the law 9 May 1989 , n. 168 the organizational, didactic, financial and didactic autonomy of universities is sanctioned. Meanwhile, in the academic year 1991 / 1992 , students enrolled in Italian universities were 1 474 719. In the late ninety years a strong impetus for transforming university with Bassanini laws which increased the ' functional autonomyof the universities. Among the various aspects, the reform reshaped the courses of study, introducing the so-called 3 + 2 formula, as provided for under the law of 15 May 1997, n. 127 and implemented by decree of the Ministry of University and Scientific and Technological Research 3 November 1999, n. 509. The reform aims to guarantee the freedom of every single university to build study programs tailored to the needs of the local economic and social reality. In any case, the planned study paths of the single universities must respect some general criteria in terms of objectives to be achieved and general aspects of the training activities, defined at national level. For this reason, the so-called classes (42 undergraduate, 104 for specialist degrees, were introduced with subsequent ministerial decrees) 4 undergraduate and 4 undergraduate degree for the health professions, 1 undergraduate and 1 for a military specialist). For each class the qualifying training objectives are defined, common to all the courses of study activated by the universities with reference to the same class, and the academic qualifications relating to the same class have the same legal value (the legal value should not be confused with the enabling value; some degrees are in fact directly enabling - that is, they do not need the prior passing of a special State exam to ascertain the professional suitability - to specific and specific health professions.

The 2000s: the line universities and reforms
The Italian university since the 2000s has undergone a radical process of change, first with the standardization of the telematic universities and subsequently the Moratti reform first and then the Gelmini one. The law of 6 August 2008, n. 133 gave universities the opportunity to become foundations of private law , becoming non-commercial bodies and taking over the ownership of movable and immovable property of the university, and not able to distribute profits, opening the privatization of universities. The choice of becoming a foundation rests with the individual universities (the relative resolution is adopted by the academic senate) based on the laws that introduced the didactic and financial autonomy of the universities.

However, the 2009 OECD report shows that public spending on tertiary education is less than 1% of GDP compared to an average of OECD countries of 1.5%. In addition, the cost per student was on average € 5628 against an OECD average of € 8455. If you include research and development costs, the Italian average is € 8725 against an OECD average of € 12,336. The Italian parliament, after the cuts in funding provided by the Berlusconi IV government , has therefore deemed it necessary to further reorganize the university system, implemented with the law of 30 December 2010, n. 240which significantly reformed the composition of the university bodies and introduced a general use of procedures for evaluating the functioning of the universities through the ANVUR and of the teachers themselves. The law 240/2010 also contained numerous delegations to the Italian government to issue legislative decrees to implement the various aspects of the reform.