Education in Italy

No matter what nationality a child may be, their public schooling is completely free whilst they live in Italy. Until the age of 11 the majority of textbooks needed by the student are also provided without charge. Education is compulsorily from the ages of 6 – 17/18 but even nursery level schools are free to attend. Although the Italian education system does have a good reputation the main complaint is that not enough emphasis is placed on creative endeavour and too much stock is put in learning by rote.

Scuola Elementare (Primary School)

In Italy Primary School is attended from ages 5 – 11.  It is up to individual municipalities to arrange school meals and transportation and most will ask parents will contribute towards these costs. Subjects taught at an Italian Primary School are very similar to those taught in their English counterparts and include: Art, Geography, maths, P.E. Science, English, History, IT, music and Italian. Many schools also provide optional instruction in Catholicism.

Scuola Secondaria Di 1 Grado (Secondary School Level One)

Level one of Secondary School is for children aged 11-13. As well as continuing their education in all subjects studied at primary level the student picks up additional subjects like learning an alternative foreign language. There are public and private options available for this and the previous level of schooling. Registering for both primary and first level secondary school can be done at any time during the academic year and involves the parent going to the secretary’s office of the chosen school. Documentation like the birth certificate, certificate of vaccination, previous school records and permit of stay must all be shown.

Scuola Secondaria Superiore (Higher Secondary School)

In Italy students are expected to make choices regarding their education at quite a young age and select which institution they want to attend and what subjects they want to study. Every higher secondary school is made up of separate subject-matter departments, such as:

Liceo Linguistico – Language

Liceo Scientifico – Scientific

Liceo Classico – Classic

Istituto Tecnico – Technical School

Istituto Professionale – Professional School

Istituto Magistrale – School For Teachers

Art schools are divided into other categories like;

Accademia Di Danza – Dance Academy

Istituto d’arte – Art School

Conservatorio di Musica – Conservatory of Music

Once a field of Study has been chosen it is rare for the student to be allowed to change.

If the student wishes to receive the secondary school diploma (Diploma di Maturita or Diploma di Scuola Superiore) and progress to degree level education they must pass both written and oral examinations.

Italian Universities are open to any student who has completed five years of secondary school and received a higher secondary school diploma. Four main courses are offered by Italian Universities: diploma di Laurea (Bachelor of Arts/Science), diploma universitario (university diploma) diploma di Specializzazione (diploma of specialization) and Dottorato di Ricerca (research doctorate).

Bear in mind, the majority of Italian universities don’t offer much in the way of extra-curricular activities or provide student accommodation.

Other further education options in Italy include vocational courses targeted at job-seekers and employees.