Country information for Italy - Financing of inclusive education systems

The State, regions and municipalities provide school funding in Italy.

The Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) provides 80% of school funding, covering core services (salaries and school operations). Salaries for school staff include administrative staff and curricular and support teachers (the latter represent 13.2% of the total teachers).

Funds for school operations are directly allocated to schools, according to the number of pupils enrolled in each school.

In 1999, Presidential Decree 275/1999 granted Italian schools didactical, administrative and financial autonomy. It also allowed them to receive funds from other sources (private or public).

The State also provides for pupils with special educational needs by offering ‘special funds’ to foster teacher training, promote inclusion and improve learners’ outcomes, and for information and communications technology.

  • Law 107/2015 (the Good School Reform Act) is linked to measures which include:
  • EUR 300 million for the construction of new innovative school buildings;
  • the school bonus: 65% tax credit on private donations (maximum EUR 100,000) for new schools, the maintenance of existing ones, and for educational projects (source: Legislation Updates 2017);
  • EUR 40 million for compulsory in-service teacher training, including in the field of inclusion. Some 9,000 curricular and support teachers were hired, with 6,446 more added in 2016 (C-phase). By 2020, the total number of hired teachers (comprising curricular and support teachers) was 55,000. (Source: CPRA – Country report, p. 21).

The regions and local authorities provide the other 20% of school funding, which is aimed at ancillary services, through direct and indirect interventions.

Direct interventions include scholarships, cheques and contributions aimed at enabling school attendance. Indirect interventions comprise some free services, such as transport, meals and textbooks.

Municipalities provide support services and assistance to all pupils with disabilities attending schools in their jurisdiction.

Municipalities and provincial authorities provide funds for school buildings and for removing architectural barriers (as required for public facilities under Law 118/1971).

This ‘co-participation’ in school funding between central government, regions and local authorities depends on their different competences, as stated by law, to monitor and guarantee efficacy in provision. It also involves all levels of government in the inclusion process.

MIUR expenditure for learner inclusion amounts to over EUR 4 billion, plus other funds for learners’ well-being.

Expenditure per learner by educational institutions is largely influenced by:

  • teacher’s salaries;
  • the pension system;
  • instructional and teaching hours;
  • the costs of teaching materials and facilities;
  • the programme provided;
  • the number of learners enrolled in the education system.

As in other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, in Italy most current expenditure goes to compensating education staff, with the remainder going to other services. (Source: Financing Policies for Inclusive Education Systems – Country report, p. 10). Italy has the lowest ratio of teachers to learners due to the geographical reality of the country. School is an essential service and the aim is to allow learners to attend a school close to their home. (Source: Financing Policies for Inclusive Education Systems – Country Study Visit report, p. 12).

The number of support teachers increased by 82% between 2001 and 2014 and spending doubled during this period. Support teachers accounted for 8.6% of teaching staff in the 2001/2002 school year. By the 2019/2020 school year, this had risen to 22%. (Sources: Financing of Inclusive Education, p. 37; Statistical Service of the Italian Ministry of Education)

Other funds are allocated by the Ministry of Health, the Department of Social Affairs and the local authorities (regions, provinces and municipalities, according to local needs and budgets).


Last updated 29/01/2021


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