Young People and Inequalities: The Case of Italian University and the Right to Attain the Highest Level of Education

Tuesday, 17 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Niccolò MORELLI, University of Bologna, Italy
“Schools are open to everyone. Primary education, which is imparted for at least eight years, is compulsory and free. Capable and deserving pupils, including those without adequate finances, have the right to attain the highest levels of education. The Republic renders this right effective through scholarships, allowances to families and other benefits, which shall be assigned through competitive examinations.” (Costituzione Italiana, art. 34)

In this proposal,We will compare the data with the goals agreed in the strategic European plan Europe 2020 for the Italian Country, according to which at least 30% of the population below 35 yo in each European country should graduate from university. These data will be followed by a discussion on the role of the economic crisis in the European countries, with particular attention given to the strategies adopted by the Italian Government to face the challenges of investing on State Education in a under resourced scenario.

The Data from the Regional Observatory on the right to education seem to confirm that there is a gap between the principle expressed in the Italian Constitution and the actual situation. For academic year 2010/11, students eligible for scholarship were 181.312, (15,8% of the total student population), while in academic year 2015/16 the figure had already dropped to 146.958, i.e. 9,2% of the total student population.

Finally we will see how the italian university population is continually decreasing. Since academic year 2007/08, the percentage of enrolment at university has diminished by 8,1%.

The percentage varies according to the different Italian regions, with the most significant decrease seen in the southern regions, which show a higher level of economic and social inequality compared to the Northern areas of the country, and where universities rarely have access to scholarship funds.