Education System in Italy 2023 Italian Education System

education system in italy

Are you interested in the Education system in Italy 2022? If Yes, at the end of this post, you will know-how education in Italy works and how the Italian education system is structured.

Education in Italy is regulated by the Ministry of Education, University and Research, in different ways according to the legal form (public schools, private schools, private schools). Vocational training, on the other hand, depends on the region. Overall, according to the reform legislation in force, we pass from compulsory schooling that ends at 16 to a right, duty, or educational obligation, which lasts until the age of eighteen.

Is Education in Italy Compulsory?

Yes, in Italy, education is compulsory, i.e., ten years. Children between 6 to 16 years must register and attend a recognized school in Italy. Students have a choice to complete their education in the last two years (from 14 to 16 years of age) in either State-run upper secondary school or through a three-year vocational education and training course.

Education System in Italy

Italian school system is structured in three education cycles:

  1. Primary education
  2. Secondary education
  3. Higher education

Is Preschool in Italy mandatory?

No, Kindergarten is a non-compulsory preschool institution in Italy, characterized by play and coexistence with peers and preparation for the first education cycle, primary school. The average duration is three years: “small” section (first year), “medium” or “medium” section (second year), and finally large section (third year). So, preschool is not Compulsory Education in Italy.

The Gelmini reform makes it possible to enroll two and a half-year-old children, while the previous prerequisite was three years old. In Italy it was formerly known as “nursery school”

Primary Education in Italy

Before the Moratti elementary school reform, primary school is the institution representing primary education in Italy. It was previously divided into two cycles, a two-year and a three-year, with a final exam for completion and access to secondary schools. The Moratti reform was divided into 3 cycles, a single year and two biennial, and the final exam was abolished.

During the history of primary school, two didactic modules alternated: the single teacher and the didactic module. The single teacher was in use until 1990 to be abolished after years of experimentation and replaced with a group of teachers (3 for two classes or 4 for three classes), called the didactic module.

With the Gelmini reform, the figure of the single teacher was reapproved. With the legislative decree n.59 of 2004 applying the Moratti law, a new figure was born: the tutor teacher: a figure of orientation, consultancy, tutoring for each student in order to reach a grade.

Secondary Education in Italy

  • Lower secondary school, for three years from the ages of 11 to 14 years
  • Upper secondary school, for five years from the ages of 14 to 19 years

Lower Secondary School

The lower secondary school, formerly lower middle school, is the institution that represents the first level of secondary education. It was accessed until 2003 with the primary license (currently abolished). The junior high school was born in 1965 with the unification of the gymnasiums, which gave access to high schools and vocational training schools, which gave access to technical/professional schools. Since then, there has been talk of a unified middle school.

The weekly timetable of lower secondary school is, on average, from a minimum of 29 hours to a maximum of 33 hours. In some schools, periods of 50 minutes can be used instead of hours, so the timetable varies from a minimum of 35 periods to a maximum of 38 periods. With the Gelmini reform, however, we return to the time of sixty minutes.

The subjects studied are (on average):

  • Italian (5 hours per week)
  • Technology (2 hours)
  • English language (3 hours)
  • History and Geography (with Citizenship and Constitution) (4 hours)
  • Study in literary disciplines (1 hour)
  • Second community language (2 hours)
  • Mathematics (4 hours)
  • Science (2 hours)
  • Exercise and sports science (2 hours)
  • Art and Image (2 hours)
  • Music (2 hours)
  • Catholic religion or alternative activity (1 hour).

In addition, students and families can choose up to a maximum of 4 hours of optional workshops: workshops that each school can propose based on the staff resources at its disposal. With the current organization, the previous (before 2003) experiments of prolonged time that allowed a maximum working time of 36 effective hours have disappeared, including moments of co-presence of several teachers.

Upper Secondary School

The upper secondary school, formerly high school, represents the second grade of the secondary education cycle. Upper secondary school is accessed after obtaining the middle school license at the end of lower secondary school.

The upper secondary school is divided into four types of institutes: high schools, technical institutes, professional institutes and art institutes.

(1) Liceo

For liceo we mean a second-grade high school whose objective is to train students in the academic field and prepare them for third-grade universities and institutions, rather than directly introducing them to work. Each high school has a duration of five years, divided into two years and three years. In history, some high schools have been introduced, and others suppressed.

The six high schools envisaged by the Gelmini Reform are the following:

  • classical high school
  • scientific high school
  • linguistic high school (entered into the system with the Gelmini reform
  • artistic high school
  • human sciences high school (born with the Gelmini reform)
  • music and dance high school (born with the Gelmini reform)

(2) Technical Institutes

(3) Professional institutes

(4) Art institutes (The Gelmini reform has suppressed these institutes, which will flow into the artistic high schools).

In Italy, students must write state examinations at their secondary education. This means that only those who passed the state examination can enroll for AFAM tertiary education or university admission.

Higher Education in Italy

Higher education in Italy includes universities, higher artistic, musical and dance training, and professional training.

Italy was one of the first countries to join the Bologna process, in almost all universities as early as the 1999/2000 academic year. The cycle of studies at the university is divided into three levels:

  1. Bachelor’s degree (3 years)
  2. Master’s degree, former specialist degree (2 years)
  3. Research doctorate (3 years) or specialization school (2-5 years).

Degree programs in higher education are structured in credits (crediti formativi universitari-CFU at universities and crediti formativi accademici-CFA at AFAM institutions).

Almost all universities are state-owned and jointly funded by the State and, to a lesser extent, by students through university fees. Some scholarships are available for particularly deserving students and/or students from low-income families.

Is the education system in Italy good?

Yes, the Italian education system is good for occupation and healthy life; hence, qualifications are given prime importance. Italy is one of the learning centers of the globe.

There are very few school pass-outs in Italy without a degree, diploma, or professional qualification that go straight to employment.

Globally, Italians have the highest ratio of higher education students. Up to 64% of students attend tertiary education.

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