University enrolments drop in Italy

University students on the decline in Italy.

Enrolments in Italian universities have dropped by 70,000 in five years said Italy's minister of education, Stefania Giannini, at the opening of the academic year at Rome's Roma Tre University.

“The worrying trend” said the minister of education is a sign of a lack of confidence in a higher education. However it also indicates the difficulties students have of obtaining funding. In addition most universities now require tough entry examinations into faculties that once had open admissions systems.

The steady decline confirms the trend over the last ten years during which enrolment numbers have dropped from a high of 338,000 to about 266,000.

According to ISTAT figures for the 2004-2008 period the decrease has been most noticeable in engineering, jurisprudence, medicine and political science – all of which were once sought-after faculties. However enrolments have risen in chemistry and pharmacology, economic and statistics, as well as in physical education.

The downward trend in enrolments corresponds to a decrease in graduations over the same period.