The Education Reform of the Kingdom of Italy in the First Decades after the Unification

Maryna Mykhailenko

Post-graduate student Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Ukraine)

UDС 94 (477)



The research analyses the reform of the education system of the Kingdom of Italy during the first decades after the unification of the country into a single nation state. The paper describes main provisions of the education legislation in force at the time and their influence on consolidating the nation and overcoming the problem of mass illiteracy of the Kingdom’s population. It also specifies the main trends of the education reform during the above-mentioned period.

The research suggests that the extension of the education legislation of the Kingdom of Sardinia throughout the territory of the Kingdom of Italy, as well as other steps made by the first governments to reform this sphere, in particular the adoption of a new education law in 1877 and the improvement of education programs, has contributed to a slow decline in the illiteracy rate from 78% in 1861 to 56% in 1901.

At the same time, the leading elite of the country did not take into account wide differences in the economic, social and cultural structure of different parts of the Kingdom. This fact had inevitably led to a significant imbalance in children’s access to education in certain regions in comparison with others, which significantly retarded the process of overcoming the lack of knowledge of the population.

Key words

Risorgimento, Kingdom of Italy, the “historical right” and «historical left» governments, the education system, the illiteracy rate.

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