Gentile Reform

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The Gentile Reform of 1923 was a reform of the Italian educational system through a series of normative acts (royal legislative decrees of 31 December 1922, n. 1679, 16 July 1923, n. 1753, 6 May 1923, n. 1054, 30 September 1923, n. 2102 and 1 October 1923, n. 2185), by the neo-idealist philosopher Giovanni Gentile, minister of education in Benito Mussolini's first cabinet. It officially recognized 21 universities in Italy.


  • 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 instruction, one could choose the scuola media, which would give further access to the "liceo" and other secondary instruction, or the avviamento al lavoro, which was intended to give a quick entry into the low strata of the workforce.
  • Gentile created the liceo classico (intended to be the peak of secondary education, with the goal of forming the future upper classes[citation needed]), the only secondary school that gave access to all types of university. Gentile also created technical, commercial and industrial institutes.
  • Instruction in languages other than Italian was abolished, which affected mainly the German language schools in South Tyrol, and Slovene and Croatian language schools in the Julian March.


  • G. Tognon, Giovanni Gentile e la riforma della scuola, in Il parlamento italiano, Milano, Nuova Cei, 1990, vol. 11