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“40% of Italian universities in the thousand best in the world” –

Among the top thousand best universities in the world, with 40% of its universities. Better than France, China and the United States which have less than 10% in the ranking. A growing number of subscribers in the face of always very scarce invested resources. Looking at the international rankings, the Italian university shows more shadows than lights. Sometimes even more at home than outside. But the ranking is not everything. The research Italy and its reputation: the university, carried out by Italy decides in collaboration with Intesa Sanpaolo, presented yesterday at Luiss Guido Carli in Rome and conducted by the scientific committee led by Domenico Asprone with Pietro Maffettone, Massimo Rubechi and Vincenzo Alfano.

The study underlines how the Italian university system surpasses all if it is considered as a whole and not by analyzing only the individual universities. Having over 40 universities out of 99 among the first thousand in the world – explains Maffettone – indicates that, perhaps we lack absolute peaks like the American Harvard, but the quality of our entire university system is very high: the international rankings are not particularly reliable and they must be read consciously. Thus, says Paola Severino, vice president of Luiss, it becomes necessary to evaluate the capacity of the rankings based on the different characteristics. Hence the British system that focuses on the quality of a few universities that reach a very high level, to the detriment of all the others. While in the Italian system – he continues – the medium-high value, despite not having islands of excellence that can bring the best ones to the top of the rankings.

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For Gian Maria Gros-Pietro, chairman of the Banca Intesa Board of Directors, reputation is important and ranking is part of reputation, but ranking reflects the dominant thinking at a given moment, I would say it reflects yesterday’s winners rather than tomorrow’s, but it also tells us that there is room for improvement. The research explains that the parameters used by the main international rankings end up penalizing the Italian reality. And low indicators make Italian universities less attractive (and therefore competitive) than foreign ones. And a waste, says the former minister of the University Gaetano Manfredi: We need an internationalization policy to attract foreign students and teachers: thanks to our position, for example, we have very high potential in Africa, it is necessary to create access channels for students, let us know abroad, focus on the attractiveness of Made in Italy.

But often the Italian university does not enjoy a great reputation, first of all at home. A phenomenon that the former president of the Chamber Luciano Violante defines a process of self-denigration, our defect in speaking ill of ourselves. But to see the data of the new registrations there is to rejoice: despite the Covid, the number of enrollments in 2020 rose by 9% in public universities and by 7.1% in private ones The future, says Violante, the great opportunity: There 4 major transformations await: digital, energetic, environmental and spatial and young people must know that this will be the world they will live in, but it will not be easy after having experienced a phase of disregard for skills.

The university must therefore increasingly become the place of competences, where, according to Violante, to create not only executive but competent classes. And the Italian one, Severino reflects, must combine merit with the possibility of access for all. But the economic resources available are still few, with Italy at the bottom of the EU list for investment in education. One fact: for its nearly 24,000 students, Harvard University spent $ 5.2 billion in 2019. In 2019, the funding fund of the university in Italy amounted to 7.5 billion euros, for 1 million and 730 thousand students.

February 23, 2021 (change February 23, 2021 | 22:37)


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