AlmaLaurea News

When the documentation about Italian university - at European level - is non-existent

(by Andrea Cammelli, AlmaLaurea Director and Founder - 1994)
04 November 2014

Updated: October 10, 2014 with new OCSE data

In the volume “Prediche Inutili” (Useless sermons) published in the 1956, Luigi Einaudi wrote “Knowing to decide”. Over four hundred years before, Galileo Galilei, as described in the work of by Bertolt Brecht, stood before the Cardinals of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, riotous to approach the telescope, with no success! Later on, in 1937, J. M. Keynes wrote in The Times that “There is nothing a government hates more than to be well-informed; for it makes the process of arriving at decisions much more complicated and difficult”.

   The perception is that the articles published recently in the national journals, regarding the financing of Italian universities do not take into account several aspects that can help us understand the poor capacity  to enhance the human capital in our country. These topics and issues are affecting the resilience of our economy and its long-term growth perspectives.

  1. For every 100 € spent on each graduate in Italy, 171 € are spent in France and Spain, 201 € in Germany and 230 € in Sweden (source: OECD, 2014, the expenditure at purchasing power parity). Slide
  2. Public and private expenditure in Research and Development as a percentage of GDP, in Italy is 1.25 (0.69 - supported by enterprises); in Spain is 1.6 (0.71 by enterprises); in The United Kingdom 1.78 (1.13); in France 2.25 (1.44); in Germany 2.89 (1.96); in Sweden 3.39 (2.33). (source: Istat, 2014). Slide
  3. The Italian 25-34 age population with a degree or higher qualification is 22%, while the EU21 average is 37% (39% in OECD countries). The EU 2020 Agenda has taken an important step forward by setting the target for tertiary graduation rates at an ambitious 40% of the population aged 30-34; Italy’s target is about 26-27%. Slide
  4. Between 2007 and 2012 in Italy the employment rate of the group with higher qualification (1. legislators, entrepreneurs and top management; 2. Intellectual, scientific and highly skilled professions) decrease at 17% while in EU grow up from 21% to 24% (Source: Eurostat). Slide
  5. In Italy, Managers with compulsory schooling or lower qualification represent 28%, in front of 11% in EU (27 members); the percentage is 5% in Germany, 13% in The UK and 19% in Spain. While in EU the average number of Managers with degree or higher qualification is 53% (there is no country under 52%), in Italy the percentage is 24. (Source: Eurostat). Slide
  6. According to AlmaLaurea’s estimations, which has been responsible for 20 years of analysis of the university system, only 30% of the nineteen-years old group enrolls at universities, as they come from the more advantaged families. The remaining 70% of young people, instead, do not have access to higher education, which is often due to the absence of a serious right to education policy. Slide 1 - Slide 2
  7. Employment and graduates: employment increases for the graduates who have studied abroad (+ 9%) and for those who have done work experience/ internships during undergraduate studies (+ 14%). Slide

We are passing through difficult times, but let’s not forget that even in periods of famine, farmers use to cut on everything but sowing. And the sowing must be carried out with care: Plutarch used to say that “Young people are not vessels to be filled, but torches to light”.


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