In Italy, the overriding aim of higher education is to promote the scientific progress of the country and to ensure that all citizens can take part in education and training that will lead to employment.
When it comes to higher education in Italy, the key principles are detailed in the Italian Constitution, adopted in 1947. Article 33 of the constitution states that: “art and science are free and the teaching thereof shall be free”. Defending academic freedom, the article also explains that all higher education institutions: “have the right to establish their own regulations autonomously, within the limits set by national legislation”.
In addition, Article 34 of the constitution emphasises the right of all individual citizens to enter higher education: “All those who can prove the necessary competency and commitment have a right to pursue the highest levels of education, regardless of their financial means.”
By way of background, back in 2001, the former Ministry for Universities and Scientific and Technological Research (MURST) merged with the Ministry for Education (MPI) to form the new Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) that is known today.
In short, MIUR essentially promotes research on a scientific and technological level, plus the development of universities and other higher institutions endowed with university status. MIUR coordinates developments and changes in the university system and it funds individual universities and co-ordinates Italian participation in EU and international programmes concerning higher education and research.1
Since June 2018, the post of Minister of Education, University and Research in Italy has been held by Marco Bussetti, who was born in May 1962.2 He forms part of the Conte Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who was sworn in as Italy’s new Prime Minister in June this year.3
In terms of Marco Bussetti’s background, this is certainly something worth exploring further. Born in Varese in 1962, he later graduated in at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan. Following that, his professional career became closely linked to the world of education and training.
From 2014 onwards, he was a manager of the Regional School Office for Lombardy in the Territorial Area of Milan and Metropolitan City, having previously worked as the managing director of the Territorial Area of Monza.
Bussetti has held teaching positions at a number of universities, such as the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, the University of Milan and the University of Pavia. He also worked with the General Directorate for Student, Integration and Participation of MIUR, as a member of several working groups.
In 2010, took part in the Ministerial Commission that was responsible for the elaboration of National Guidelines where high school students are concerned. He is also the author of a number of publications on topics related to the school world.4
Only on 1st June this year, he replaced Valeria Fedeli who held the position of Minister of Education, University and Research in Italy between December 2016 and June 2018.5 Following the recent change in Italy’s government, it’s worth looking at some of Valeria Fedeli thoughts, which she conveyed to her successor, Marco Bussetti. These include a number of urgent priorities, including protecting staff and students in all institutions of education in Italy.
“To hold an institutional position means to take care of the country, with regard to the sector of its competence, in the sole interest of citizens and citizens and with a deep and rooted sense of responsibility. That’s why I decided to leave the new Minister, to whom I wish my best wishes, a document containing measures and measures adopted and detailed information on the most urgent issues to be addressed in the coming months to protect female students, students and all women and men who work daily in our schools, universities and research institutions supervised by MIUR.”
Valeria Fedeli advised on vital matters for her successor to attend to, including the following:
- Measures to ensure the continuity of teaching for non-role support teachers and;
- The required operations to ensure an orderly start of the new school year, with all the professors from day one.
The former Minister, Valeria Fedeli, also adds that a firm commitment and a quick intervention by the next Minister are required on this and other matters. Let’s leave the last word to Valeria Fedeli, who offers her views on the priorities for graduates at the commencement of the next academic year.
“Following the decision of the Council of State in the Plenary Assembly of last December, on the issue of graduate students, it will be necessary to find a legislative solution that respects their rights, as well as those of graduates in primary education sciences, and that to guarantee an orderly start of the next school year, in the interest of female students and students.”