Protesters clashed with police at Rome's La Sapienza University on Tuesday and heckled minister Valeria Fedeli as she attended a conference there on education reform
The students were protesting funding cuts to Italian schools and universities as well as non-permanent contracts for researchers and faculty.
Protesters let off flares, threw eggs and scuffled with police who barred them from entering the philosophy and literature faculty where the conference was taking place.
When police blocked a further attempt to enter the building through another entrance, the students marched around the campus chanting slogans against the government, Fedeli and her predecessors.
"Get out" and "You have destroyed our schools and universities" read banners and placards unfurled by the demonstrators.
Inside the conference venue, a group of participants managed to seize a microphone and heckled Fedeli as she was speaking.
Police said they had identified around 40 people who took part in the protests.
Former education minister Maria Stella Gelmini was also set to attend Tuesday's conference.