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Education in Italy. From nursery school to…. University and mo re. Organisation. 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.

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Education in italy

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 (scuoladell'infanzia),

primary school (scuolaprimaria),

lower secondary school (scuolasecondaria di primo grado),

upper secondary school (scuolasecondaria di secondo grado)

and university (università).

Education in italy


The scuolaprimaria (primary school), also known as scuolaelementare, is commonly preceded by three years of non-compulsory 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

(RiformaMoratti and RiformaGelmini) 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
Past and present


History, geography and science



Natural sciences,

Technology and ICT


Physical education

Visual and musical arts.

Lower secondary school
Lower secondaryschool

  • It lasts three years ( from 11 to 13), and provides further education on the subjects studied at the scuolaprimaria, with the addition of

  • Technology and a language other than English (usually French, Spanish or German).

  • The curriculum is the same for all schools.

  • Italian, History, geography

  • Maths, Science, biology

  • English,(first foreign language) French or German (second)

  • Music

  • Technology

  • 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 Morattireform(2003) it was called "Scuola media di primo grado“ or “Scuolamedia inferiore".


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 afternoons. 

The scuola secondaria di secondo grado upper secondary school
The scuola secondaria di secondo gradoUppersecondaryschool

The Scuolasecondaria di secondo grado lasts five years; some Vocational schools (Istitutiprofessionali) before the recent reform called RiformaGelmini prepared for a professional certificate only after three years.

Tipes of secondary school
Tipes of secondaryschool

  • 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

  • dellescienzeumanespecializing in human sciences

  • liceoscientifico specializing in scientific studies

  • liceoartistico specializing in Art

  • liceomusicale e coreutico specializing in music and dance

  • the IstitutoTecnico or Technical Institute

  • the IstitutoProfessionale 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 University.

The technical institute
The Technical Institute

The IstitutoTecnico (Technical Institute) is divided into

  • ITT (istitutotecnicotecnologico, Technical/Technological Institute)

  • ITE (istitutotecnicoeconomico, 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 professionaleThe vocationalschool

The IstitutoProfessionale 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 IstitutoTecnico.

The new vocational school
The new vocationalschool

  • 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 fifth.

  • Periods are reduced to 32 per week

Types of vocational school
Types of vocationalschool

Settore dei servizi:

  • Servizi per l’agricoltura e lo sviluppo rurale; professionalservices for Agriculture and Rural Development

  • Servizi socio-sanitari; professionalservicesfor Social healthcare.

  • Servizi per l’enogastronomia e l’ospitalità alberghiera; professionalservicesfor Food, wine and hotel hospitality

  • Servizi commerciali; Professional Business Services for Trade

  • Settore industria e artigianato: Produzioni industriali e artigianali;

    industryand handicraftsector

  • Manutenzione e assistenza tecnica; Maintenanceand Technical Support

Tertiary education or university
Tertiaryeducation 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 "Scienzedellaformazioneprimaria" (Sciences of the primary education), necessary for teaching in nursery or primary schools (a 4 year course)

  • Laureamagistrale (Master's degree)

  • Diploma accademico di secondo livello 2 years

  • Laureamagistrale a ciclounico (Bachelor's + Master's degree)

  • For some faculties only. For example: Medicine and surgery, architectural engineering, pharmacy, architecture, law

The role of english
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
Happy new schoolyear!