1.1 Higher Education: constitutional principles and aims

The main principles that lay the foundations for the Italian education system, and in particular higher education, are set down in the Italian Constitution that was adopted in 1947. Article 33 of the constitution states that “… art and science are free and the teaching thereof shall be free”. In defence of academic freedom, the article also states that all higher education institutions “have the right to establish their own regulations autonomously, within the limits set by national legislation”.

Furthermore, Article 34 of the constitution establishes the principle of the right of individual citizens to 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.”

As defined by law, the main purpose of higher education, is twofold - to promote scientific progress of the nation and to provide all citizens with education and training that will lead to employment.