Recent Personnel Reforms of Public Universities in China and in Italy: A Comparison

Sha Ha


Purpose of the present research is an investigation of the most recent personnel reforms of higher education institutions in China and in Italy. A one-to-one comparison between the two realities would have been unrealistic, given the enormous differences between the two Countries in size and historical development. We focused our analysis on some basic issues common to both higher education institutions, such as the degree of the academic autonomy from the political power in the academic governance and the quality of the knowledge production and transfer to the society. The Sun Yat-Sen and the Guangzhou Universities in the Guangdong Province of China, and the Universities of Padua and Ca’ Foscari in Venetian Region of Italy, have been chosen as case studies.

In China the personnel reforms introduced by the central government in the period 1995-2014, were accompanied by a relevant financial support by the central and regional authorities, thus helping the national universities to attain high standards of excellence in the technological domain. Those remarkable financial investments by the central and regional authorities are paying off, contributing to the technological advancement of the Country.

As for the Italian public universities, a very innovative reform law was introduced by the ‘Ministry of Education, University and Research’ in December 2010, which granted a high level of governance autonomy to those institutions. Unfortunately, the great financial crisis that hit the Country in the same period of time caused a strong reduction of the public funds to universities and a consequent brain drain of young post graduates toward Northern Europe and North America.

In spite of this temporary shortage of funds, Italian public universities have maintained their high level of excellence in science, technology and humanities, as evidenced by the increasing number of their bilateral cooperation agreements, concerning student mobility and joint research activities, with foreign universities all over the world, China included. 

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International Journal of Higher Education
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