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Eurogates

The Italian Higher Education System

Italy 14 February 2009, 00:00

Italy has played an important role in European higher education: it is one of the four countries that first engaged to create the so-called "European Area of Higher Education"

Italy has played an important role in European higher education: it is one of the four countries that first engaged to create the so-called "European Area of Higher Education" (Sorbonne Declaration, May 1998), thus starting that type of higher education reform which, known as "Bologna Process" (Bologna Declaration, June 1999) is being implemented all over Europe.

Today Italy ranks among the 8 most industrialised countries in the world. Alongside some big companies, both state-owned and private, it has developed a sound network of small and medium-sized undertakings, promoted a few scientific parks, and is incentivating basic and applied research in a great variety of fields (biology, ICT, medicine, physics, etc.).

Italian higher education is structured in a binary system, consisting of two main articulations:

  • the university sector
  • the non-university sector.

At present, the university sector is made up of 89 university institutions which are classified in:

  • 58 State universities
  • 17 non-State universities (legally recognised by the State)
  • 2 universities for foreigners
  • 6 higher schools specialised in postgraduate university studies
  • 6 telematic universities.

The non-university sector includes 4 education typologies with their institutions:
- higher schools of design: polytechnics for the arts, academies of fine arts, higher institutes for applied arts, music conservatories and recognised music institutes, higher institutes for musical and choreographic studies, national academies
- higher education in language mediation: higher schools for language mediators
- higher integrated education (FIS): programmes of higher technical education & training (IFTS)
- a few specific fields (e.g. archiving, diplomatics, restoration, military studies, etc.) which, along with their respective institutions, fall under the supervision of ministries other than that of Education.

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