To begin with, you need to specify what the notion ‘academic freedom’ means when you start working on this issue. So, academic freedom presupposes that both teachers and the students have the opportunity to teach and study without any law restrictions or institutional regulations.
In such a way, a teacher has the opportunity to include the subject they consider to be useful as well as to share their findings regarding a particular issue without any state control or censorship. Speaking about students, they have the chance to choose the subjects they personally want to study and to be able to express their opinions freely.
The reason why it is so important is that it gives students the opportunity to pursue the career they are interested in and to have the opportunity to get all information they require regarding that subject. Apart from that, such studying process helps students to keep an open mind and also makes them think in a creative way which quite often results in some unconventional ideas.