Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pedro Teixeira (Editor-in-Chief), Jung Cheol Shin (Editor-in-Chief)

Higher Education Systems and Institutions, Italy

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9553-1_514-1

Higher Education Systems Development

Italy’s population stands at 60 million. Unified only in 1861, the last 150 or so years have been fraught with strong economic and social differences, which still have repercussions in the present. The southern regions, for example, are having particular difficulties in keeping up with the rest of the country (Moscati 2006; Fondazione Res 2016).

Since unification, education has been perceived as one of the most important tools for binding together socially and culturally the different regions and populations, which is why the system has remained mostly public and centralized.

At a formal level, increasing demand for higher education produced a number of changes in quantitative terms. New universities were opened, so that the number of higher education institutions (HEIs) rose from 41 in 1960/61 to 54 in 1986/87 and arrived at 96 (66 state universities and 30 private ones) in 2015/16. The number of private universities has been growing in recent...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. ANVUR. 2013. Autovalutazione, Valutazione e Accreditamento del Sistema Universitario Italiano (Ava) http://www.anvur.org (home page). Accessed 15 May 2016.
  2. ANVUR. 2014. Rapporto sullo Stato del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca 2013. http://www.anvur.org (home page). Accessed 15 May 2016.
  3. ANVUR. 2016. Rapporto Biennale sullo Stato del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca 2016 (home page). www.anvur.org. Accessed 25 May 2017.
  4. Associazione Treellle. 2017. Dopo la riforma: università italiana, università europea? Proposte per il miglioramento del sistema terziario, Quaderno n.13.Google Scholar
  5. Becher, T., and P.R. Trowler. 2001. Academic tribes and territories. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Boffo, S., P. Dubois, and R. Moscati. 2008. Gouverner les universités en France et en Italie. Paris: L’Harmattan.Google Scholar
  7. Capano, G. 2008. Looking for serendipity: The problematic reform of government within Italy’s universities. Higher Education 55 (4): 481–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Capano, G. 2011. Government continues to do its job. A comparative study of governance shifts in the higher education sector. Public Administration 89 (4): 1622–1642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Capano, G., M. Regini, and M. Turri. 2016. Changing governance in universities. Italian higher education in comparative perspective. London: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Clark, B.R. 1977. Academic power in Italy: Bureaucracy and oligarchy in a national university system. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. European Commission. 2006. Delivering on the modernization agenda for universities: Education, research and innovation. http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/pdf/COM (2006)_208.pdf. Accessed 15 May 2016.
  12. Eurostat. 2014. Education and training statistical database. Luxembourg: Eurostat.Google Scholar
  13. Fondazione Res. 2016. In Università in declino. Un’indagine sugli atenei da Nord a Sud, ed. G.Viesti. Roma: Donzelli.Google Scholar
  14. Giglioli, P.P. 1979. Baroni e Burocrati. Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  15. Luzzatto, G., and R. Moscati. 2005. University reform in Italy: Fears, expectations and contradictions. In Reform and change in higher education, ed. A. Gornitzka, M. Kogan, and A. Amaral, 153–168. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. MIUR. 2016. Statistical office. Roma: MIUR.Google Scholar
  17. Moscati, R. 1991. Italy. In Prometeus bound. The changing relationship between government and higher education in Western Europe, ed. G. Neave and F. van Vught, 91–107. Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  18. Moscati, R., ed. 1997. Chi governa l’Università? Il mondo accademico italiano tra conservazione e mutamento. Napoli: Liguori.Google Scholar
  19. Moscati, R. 2006. Italy. In International handbook of higher education, ed. J.J.F. Forest and P.G. Altbach, 811–827. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Moscati, R. 2014. Autonomy for what? The university mission in a centralized higher education system: The case of Italy. In International trends in university governance. Autonomy, self-government and the distribution of authority, ed. M. Shattock, 89–104. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. OECD. 2014. Education at a glance. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  22. OECD. 2015. Education at a glance. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  23. OECD. 2016a. Education at a glance. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  24. OECD. 2016b. Main science and technology indicators. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  25. Reale, E., and B. Poti. 2009. Italy: Local policy legacy and moving to an ‘in between’ configuration. In University governance. Western European comparative perspectives, ed. C. Paradeise, E. Reale, I. Bleiklie, and E. Ferlie, 77–102. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  26. Reale, E., and E. Primeri. 2014. Reforming universities in Italy: Towards a new paradigm? In Reforming higher education: Public policy design and implementation, ed. C. Musselin and P. Teixeira, 39–63. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rebora, G., and M. Turri. 2009. Governance in higher education: An analysis of the Italian experience. In International perspectives on the governance of higher education. Alternative frameworks for coordination, ed. J. Huisman, 13–32. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Rebora, G., and M. Turri. 2011. Critical factors in the use of evaluation in Italian universities. Higher Education 61 (5): 531–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rossi, F. 2009. Increased competition and diversity in higher education: An empirical analysis in the Italian university system. Higher Education Policy 22 (4): 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rossi, F. 2010. Massification, competition and organizational diversity in higher education: Evidence from Italy. Studies in Higher Education 35 (3): 277–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Turri, M. 2011. L’Università in Transizione. Governance, Struttura Economica e Valutazione. Milano: Guerini.Google Scholar
  32. Turri, M. 2014. The new Italian agency for the evaluation of the university system (ANVUR): A need for governance or legitimacy? Quality in Higher Education 20 (1): 64–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Milano-BicoccaMilanoItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • Barbara M. Kehm
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Education, Robert Owen Centre for Educational ChangeUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUnited Kingdom