Education in Italy
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2010)|
|Ministero dell'istruzione, dell'università e della ricerca|
|Minister of Education||Stefania Giannini|
|National education budget (2005)|
|Compulsory primary education||1859|
Education in Italy is compulsory from 6 to 16 years of age, and is divided into five stages: 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). Italy has both public and private education systems.
In Italy a state-born school system, or Education System has existed since 1859, when the Legge Casati (Casati Act) mandated educational responsibilities for the forthcoming Italian state (Italian unification took place in 1861). The Casati Act made primary education compulsory, and had the goal of reducing illiteracy. This law gave control of primary education to the single towns, of secondary education to the provinces, and the universities were managed by the State. Even with the Casati Act and compulsory education, in rural (and southern) areas children often were not sent to school (the rate of children enrolled in primary education would reach 90% only after 70 years) and the illiteracy rate (which was nearly 80% in 1861) took more than 50 years to halve.
The next important law concerning the Italian education system was the Legge Gentile. This act was issued in 1923, thus when Benito Mussolini and his National Fascist Party were in power. In fact, Giovanni Gentile was appointed the task of creating an education system deemed fit for the fascist system. The compulsory age of education was raised to 14 years, and was somewhat based on a ladder system: after the first five years of primary education, one could choose the 'Scuola media', which would give further access to the "liceo" and other secondary education, or the 'avviamento al lavoro' (work training), which was intended to give a quick entry into the low strates of the workforce. The reform enhanced the role of the Liceo Classico, created by the Casati Act in 1859 (and intended during the Fascist era as the peak of secondary education, with the goal of forming the future upper classes), and created the Technical, Commercial and Industrial institutes and the Liceo Scientifico. The Liceo Classico was the only secondary school that gave access to all types of higher education until 1968. The influence of Gentile's Idealism was great, and he considered the Catholic religion to be the "fundament and crowning" of education. In 1962 the 'avviamento al lavoro' was abolished, and all children until 14 years had to follow a single program, encompassing primary education (scuola elementare) and middle school (scuola media).
From 1962 to the present day, the main structure of Italian primary (and secondary) education remained largely unchanged, even if some modifications were made: a narrowing of the gap between males and females (through the merging of the two distinct programmes for technical education, and the optional introduction of mixed-gender gym classes), a change in the structure of secondary school (legge Berlinguer) and the creation of new licei, 'istituti tecnici' and 'istituti professionali', giving the student more choices in their paths.
In 1999, in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Bologna Process, the Italian university system switched from the old system (vecchio ordinamento, which led to the traditional 5-year Laurea degree), to the new system (nuovo ordinamento). The nuovo ordinamento split the former Laurea into two tracks: the Laurea triennale (a three-year degree akin to the Bachelor's Degree), followed by the 2-year Laurea specialistica (Master's Degree), the latter renamed Laurea Magistrale in 2007. A credit system was established to quantify the amount of work needed by each course and exam (25 work hours = 1 credit), as well as enhance the possibility to change course of studies or to continue studies in a foreign country after the first 3 years. However, it is now established that there is just a five-year degree "Laurea Magistrale a Ciclo Unico" for programmes such as Law and a six-year degree for Medicine.
Scuola primaria (primary school), also known as scuola elementare, is commonly preceded by three years of non-compulsory nursery school (or kindergarten). Scuola elementare lasts five years. Until middle school, the educational curriculum is the same for all pupils: although one can attend a private or state-funded school, the subjects studied are the same (with the exception of special schools for the blind or the hearing-impaired). The students are given a basic education in Italian, English, mathematics, natural sciences, history, geography, social studies, physical education and visual and musical arts.
Until 2004, pupils had to pass an exam to access Scuola secondaria di primo grado (Lower secondary school), comprising the composition of a short essay in Italian, a written math test, and an oral test on the other subjects. The exam has been discontinued and pupils can now enter Scuola secondaria di Primo Grado directly.
Secondary education is divided in two stages: Scuola secondaria di primo grado (Lower secondary school), also known as Scuola media, which corresponds to the Middle School grades, and Scuola secondaria di secondo grado (Upper secondary school), which corresponds to the high-school level.
Scuola secondaria di primo grado
The Scuola secondaria di primo grado lasts three years (roughly from age 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 (typically French, Spanish or German). The curriculum is the same for all schools. At the end of the third year students sit an exam which enables them to continue their education. Until the Moratti reform it was called "Scuola media di primo grado" or "Scuola media inferiore".
Scuola secondaria di secondo grado
The Scuola secondaria di secondo grado lasts five years (even though some istituti professionali might offer a diploma after only three years). Every tier involves an exam at the end of the final year, called Esame di Maturità, required to gain a diploma and have access to further education.
The secondary school situation varies, since there are several types of schools differentiated by subjects and activities. The main division is between the Liceo, the Istituto Tecnico and the Istituto Professionale. Any kind of secondary school that lasts 5 years grants access to the final exam, called Esame di Stato conclusivo del corso di studio di Istruzione Secondaria Superiore or Esame di Maturità. This exam takes place every year between June and July and grants access to University.
The "Liceo" concept was created by Gentile, and in 1923 indicated a specific type of secondary school; today, it rather refers to a class of secondary schools oriented towards the study of the arts and sciences. All of the Licei have many subjects in common, such as Italian Literature, or Mathematics, while other subjects are peculiar to a particular type of Liceo (i.e. Ancient Greek in the Liceo Classico, pedagogy in the Liceo delle Scienze Umane or scenography in the Liceo Artistico).
Types of Liceo include:
- Liceo Classico, which features Latin, Ancient Greek, Italian, history and philosophy as its most important subjects.
- Liceo Linguistico puts emphasis on modern foreign languages learning and the languages usually taught are English, French, Spanish and German – although recently Russian, Arabic and Chinese have been introduced as well.
- Liceo delle Scienze Umane, where the emphasis is more on relational, behavioural, educational and juridical topics, such as pedagogy, anthropology, psychology, sociology, law, political economy and social research. It replaces the previous Istituto Magistrale (which once educated elementary school teachers).
- Liceo Scientifico, whose programme reminds in part that of Liceo Classico in teaching Italian, Latin, history and philosophy, but is more oriented towards mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, Earth science and computer science and is also focused on drawing and art history.
- Liceo Artistico, which is oriented toward arts teaching – both in a theoretical (i.e. art history) and practical (i.e. drawing sessions) way. Its subjects are painting, sculpture, decoration, graphics, design, audiovisual, multimedia, scenography and architecture.
- Liceo Musicale e Coreutico, which comprises two sectors:
The Istituto Tecnico (Technical Institute), divided into ITT (istituto tecnico tecnologico, i.e. Technical/Technological Institute) and ITE (istituto tecnico economico, i.e. Technical/Economic Institute), 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 offers a form of secondary education oriented towards practical subjects and enables the students to start searching for a job as soon as they have completed their studies (sometimes sooner, as some schools offer a diploma after 3 years instead of 5) and is even more specific in terms of vocational course offerings than the Istituto Tecnico.
The Istituto d'Arte was a particular form of Istituto Professionale, which offered an education focused on art history and drawing. Today it is part of the Liceo Artistico.
The Italian school system also features the Scuola serale (evening school), aimed at adults and working students.
While the education received in a Liceo, which involves a broad and specifically academic curriculum, is generally considered necessary to enter University, even Istituto Tecnico and Istituto Professionale students have access to it, provided they pass the entry tests which are mandatory in most faculties.
A typical Italian student is 19 when he or she enters university, while in the UK and other countries, 18 is the more common age.
The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks the Italian secondary education as the 36th in the world, being significantly below the OECD average , and observes a wide gap between results in Northern Italian schools, which performed significantly better than the national average, and Southern Italian schools, that had much poorer results. Moreover, students in state-owned schools perform better than students in private schools.
Superior Graduate School
The Superior Graduate School (Grandes écoles) or Scuola Superiore Universitaria offer recognized national and international titles, including the Diploma di Perfezionamento equivalent to a Doctorate, Dottorato di Ricerca i.e. Research Doctorate or Doctor Philosophiae i.e. Ph.D. and are recognized by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (Italy) (MIUR) as fully autonomous. Some of them also organize courses Master's degree, individually, or jointly with the universities with whom they work.
There are three Superior Graduate Schools with "university status", three institutes with the status of Doctoral Colleges, which function at graduate and post-graduate level. Nine further schools are direct offshoots of the universities (i.e. do not have their own 'university status'). The first one is the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (founded in 1810 by Napoleon as a branch of École Normale Supérieure), taking the model of organization from the famous École Normale Supérieure.
Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies also has long history of existence within overall Italian educational excellence, as its origins are in Collegio Medico-Giuridico of Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and Conservatorio di Sant’Anna, an even older educational institution originating its roots in the 14th century.
Compulsory education is highlighted in yellow.
|Pre-school education||Scuola dell'infanzia (nursery school)||3 years, age 3 to 6|
|Primary education||Scuola primaria (primary school)||5 years, age 6 to 11|
|Lower secondary education||Scuola secondaria di primo grado (first grade secondary school)||3 years, age 11 to 14||Diploma di scuola secondaria di primo grado|
|Upper secondary education||Scuola secondaria di secondo grado (second grade secondary school)||5 years, age 14 to 19||Diploma di liceo classico
Diploma di liceo linguistico
Diploma di liceo delle scienze umane
Diploma di liceo scientifico
Diploma di liceo artistico
Diploma di liceo musicale e coreutico
Diploma di istituto tecnico
Diploma di istituto professionale
|Formazione professionale||3 or 5 years, age 14 to 17 or 14 to 19||Qualifica professionale (3 years), Licenza professionale (5 years)|
|Higher education||Laurea (Bachelor's degree)
Diploma accademico di primo livello
|4 years, only for "Scienze della formazione primaria" (Sciences of the primary education), necessary for teaching in nursery or primary schools|
|Laurea magistrale (Master's degree)
Diploma accademico di secondo livello
|Laurea magistrale a ciclo unico (Bachelor's + Master's degree)||5 years only for:
"Chimica e tecnologie farmaceutiche" (chemistry and technologies of pharmacy)
"Medicina veterinaria" (veterinary medicine)
"Ingegneria Edile-Architettura" (architectural engineering)
|6 years, only for "Medicina e chirurgia" (Medicine and surgery)
"Odontoiatria e protesi dentaria" (dentistry)
|Dottorato di ricerca (PhD)
Diploma accademico di formazione alla ricerca
Diploma di Perfezionamento – PhD (Superior Graduate Schools in Italy)
|3, 4 or 5 years|
- http://www.camera.it/parlam/leggi/06296l.htm comma 622
- Ricerca Italiana – Scuole di Eccellenza
- Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) Decree
- Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca
- Statuto della Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Gazzetta Ufficialeil 28 dicembre 2011
- Scuole di Eccellenza