Education in Italy
From nursery school to…..
University and more.
Italy has both public and private education systems and
education is compulsory from 6 to 16 years of age.
94,5% of Italian students attend state schools.
There are more than half a million foreign students, that is the 6,4%
Every year there are almost 70,000 new students coming
from foreign countries
( Morocco, India, Pakistan, Romania, Albania, Russia, Ghana and so on)
kindergarten (scuola dell'infanzia),
primary school (scuola primaria),
lower secondary school (scuola secondaria di primo grado),
upper secondary school (scuola secondaria di secondo grado)
and university (università).
Primary school
The scuola primaria (primary school), also known as scuola
elementare, is commonly preceded by three years of noncompulsory nursery school (or kindergarten).
It lasts five years and the educational curriculum is the
same for all pupils. It was totally reformed some years ago
(Riforma Moratti and Riforma Gelmini) and now children
leave the school without taking any exam.
Lessons are held from Monday to Saturday (sometimes to
Friday) for 24 to 30 hours a week, depending on the local
organisation and needs)
Past and present
History, geography and science
Natural sciences,
Technology and ICT
Physical education
Visual and musical arts.
Lower secondary school
 It lasts three years ( from 11 to 13), and provides further education on the
subjects studied at the scuola primaria, with the addition of
Technology and a language other than English (usually French, Spanish or
The curriculum is the same for all schools.
Italian, History, geography
Maths, Science, biology
English,(first foreign language) French or German (second)
Physical Education
Religion (IRC) (only for Catholic students)
At the end of the third year students sit an exam, with written and oral
tests, which enables them to continue their education. Until the Moratti
reform(2003) it was called "Scuola media di primo grado“ or “Scuola media
The weekly timetable, organized by discipline, is of 30
hours. Depending on the availability it can be extended
up to 36/40 hours per week of educational activities
and lessons with the obligation of two to three
The scuola secondaria di secondo grado
Upper secondary school
The Scuola secondaria di secondo grado lasts five years;
some Vocational schools (Istituti professionali) before
the recent reform called Riforma Gelmini prepared for
a professional certificate only after three years.
Tipes of secondary school
 The secondary school situation varies, since there are several types of schools
differentiated by subjects and activities. The main division ( after the Reform
Gelmini in 2010) is between
 the Liceo,
 Classico
high school specializing in classical studies
 linguistico
specializing in modern languages
 delle scienze umane
specializing in human sciences
 liceo scientifico
specializing in scientific studies
 liceo artistico
specializing in Art
 liceo musicale e coreutico
specializing in music and dance
 the Istituto Tecnico or Technical Institute
 the Istituto Professionale or Vocational school
 Any kind of secondary school that lasts 5 years, gives access to the final exam,
called Esame di Stato or Esame di Maturità.
 This exam takes place every year between June and July and grants access to
The Technical Institute
The Istituto Tecnico (Technical Institute) is divided into
 ITT (istituto tecnico tecnologico, Technical/Technological
 ITE (istituto tecnico economico, Technical/Economic
Institute), that is more oriented toward practical subjects,
such as jurisdiction, accountancy, tourism, metalworking,
electronics, chemical industry, biotechnology, visual
communication, fashion and food industry, construction
management and geotechnics.
The Istituto professionale
The vocational school
The Istituto Professionale offers a form of secondary
education oriented towards practical subjects and
enables the students to start looking for a job as soon
as they have completed their studies even more
specific in terms of vocational course offerings than the
Istituto Tecnico.
The new vocational school
 Up to the introduction of this reform, vocational
schools were divided into five areas with 27 types of
orientation, while the recent reform divided them
into two macro-sectors with 6 types of orientation.
 Compared to the technical institutes vocational
schools can have more autonomy, however, from 25%
of the teaching time in the first year up to 40% in the
 Periods are reduced to 32 per week
Types of vocational school
Settore dei servizi:
Servizi per l’agricoltura e lo sviluppo rurale; professional services for
Agriculture and Rural Development
Servizi socio-sanitari; professional services for Social healthcare.
Servizi per l’enogastronomia e l’ospitalità alberghiera; professional services
for Food, wine and hotel hospitality
Servizi commerciali; Professional Business Services for Trade
Settore industria e artigianato: Produzioni industriali e artigianali;
industry and handicraft sector
Manutenzione e assistenza tecnica; Maintenance and Technical Support
Tertiary education or university
 The “3+2” university reform (1999) has changed the traditional framework
of Italian university qualifications prospective
Students with a secondary school diploma are asked to pass an entry test
which is mandatory in most faculties. They can get different titles:
Higher education or Laurea (Bachelor's degree)
Diploma accademico di primo livello (a 3 year course)
For "Scienze della formazione primaria" (Sciences of the primary
education), necessary for teaching in nursery or primary schools (a 4 year
Laurea magistrale (Master's degree)
Diploma accademico di secondo livello 2 years
Laurea magistrale a ciclo unico (Bachelor's + Master's degree)
For some faculties only. For example: Medicine and surgery, architectural
engineering, pharmacy, architecture, law
The role of English
Many universities offer a wide range of courses held entirely in
English, (Engineering, science, economics and political sciences
etc) which are aimed at those students who wish to improve
their language skills or those participating in Erasmus and other
exchange programmes.
Happy new school year!

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