Italy - Country Background Information

Describing the forms of education in the country

The EASIE data collection covers all recognised forms of education at ISCED levels 02, 1, 2 and 3.

This means any type of education organised by or approved by any recognised educational provider in the public or private sector: municipality, local or regional educational provider from the public or private sector, working with/for ministries responsible for education and areas such as health, social, welfare, labour, justice, etc.

What is the compulsory education age range in the country?

Compulsory schooling takes place between 6 and 16 years of age. It is fulfilled by attending the first cycle of education (i.e. 5 years of primary school and 3 years of lower-secondary school) and the first two years of secondary school or educational courses and professional training carried out by training structures accredited by the Regions.

After the age of 16 an educational obligation can be fulfilled by graduating high school or attending a professional course to achieve a qualification.

Alternatively, there is an apprenticeship for professional qualification for young people between the ages of 15 and 25, with a maximum duration of three or four years in the case of a four-year regional diploma.

What are the typical age ranges for the ISCED levels?

3–5 6-10 11-13 14-18
Is private sector education covered by the data provided for the country?

Data provided by the Ministry of Education refers specifically to public schools and to private publicly-subsidised schools (scuole paritarie).

In Italy there are 3 types of schools: public schools, private publicly-subsidised schools (scuole paritarie) and private schools. Private publicly-subsidised schools can issue certificates with the same legal value as qualifications from state schools of the same type and level. The national education system is composed of public schools and private publicly-subsidised schools, so national data only refers to them.

In periodic statistical surveys, there is also data related to private schools which are not publicly-subsidised. However, these schools are not obliged to submit data, unlike public and private publicly-subsidised schools.

Is recognised public or private education organised by sectors other than education (i.e. health, social, welfare, labour, justice, etc.) in the data provided for the country?

Vocational education and training, which is the specific training path undertaken in structures accredited by the Regions to train for a profession and enter (or re-enter) the labour market.

Are there recognised forms of alternative education covered by the data provided for the country?

Data on vocational education and training is provided by the National Institute for Public Policy Analysis (INAPP) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies (MLPS).  

Are there recognised forms of home schooling covered by the data provided for the country?

This type of education is permitted by the Italian legal system. Families can fulfil the obligation to educate learners up to 16 years of age:

  • directly, by fulfilling the education obligation within the domestic context;
  • indirectly, by assigning a competent private tutor or in non-formal education.

Though these learners do not attend school, they are enrolled in mainstream education and are assessed at the end of each school year (to guarantee fulfilment of the duty to education, the learner must take an exam to access the next school year).

Identifying an ‘inclusive setting’ in the country

For the EASIE data collection, an inclusive setting is operationally defined as a recognised form of education where the child/learner follows education in mainstream classes alongside their peers for the largest part –80% or more –of the school week.

80% clearly indicates that a child/learner is educated in a mainstream class for the majority of their school week. At the same time, it acknowledges possibilities for small group or one-to-one withdrawal for limited periods of time (i.e. 20% or one day a week).

Not all countries are able to provide exact data relating to the 80% time placement benchmark. Therefore, proxies –alternative data that can be used to represent the 80% benchmark –have been agreed upon.

Are you able to provide actual data to verify the 80% placement benchmark?
If no, which proxy are you using
Placement in a mainstream class implies 80% or more
What an ‘official decision of SEN’ means in the country

For the EASIE data collection, the agreed operational definition is an official decision leads to a child/learner being recognised as eligible for additional educational support to meet their learning needs. Countries may have different types of official decision, but for all official decisions:

•There has been some form of educational assessment procedure involving different people. This procedure may involve the child/learner; parents; school-based team members, as well as professionals from multi-disciplinary teams from outside the child’s/learner’s (pre)school.

•There is some form of legal document (plan/programme etc.) that describes the support the child/learner is eligible to receive, which is used as the basis for decision making.

•There is some form of regular review process of the child/learner’s needs, progress and support.

Please describe what an ‘official decision’ is in the country.

In Italy, according to law 104/92 (art. 3, par. 1), a person with a disability 'presents a physical, mental or sensory impairment, stable or progressive, which causes difficulties in learning, relations or work integration, so that to cause social disadvantage and exclusion'.  If a person is recognised as disabled according to law 104/1992, there is an 'official decision' of SEN. The national health system releases a document that certifies the disability and the consequent right to benefit from support measures foreseen by the legislation in force. This document is a precondition to start the administrative procedures for school inclusion.


What educational assessment procedures are carried out and who is involved?

The process starts with the parents, who require a collegial assessment from the local health authority (according to law 104/1992, art. 12 and 13).

Following the disability evaluation, a Functioning profile is released according to the criteria of the bio-psycho-social model of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) adopted by the World Health Organization. Support measures for pupils with disabilities are then selected based on the  Functioning profile and the individual education plan.

These documents are described in detail in question 3.3.

What formal, regular review processes of a child/learner’s needs, progress and support are linked to an official decision?

The Functioning Profile is updated at each level of education, starting from kindergarten, and when new physical or mental conditions develop. The Individual Education Plan is drawn up every school year by the school and the family.

What ‘out-of-education’ means in the country

Within the EASIE data collection, specific questions examine children/learners who are out-of-education. This means children/learners who should, by law, be in some form of recognised education, but who are out of any form of recognised education. A recognised form of education is any type of education organised by or approved by any recognised educational provider in the public or private sector.

Is there a formal definition of ‘out-of-education’ in the country?
Please describe which learners are considered ‘out-of-education’ in the country

In Italy, 'out-of-education' can refer to different categories:

  • drop-out
  • early leaving of education and training (ELET)
  • young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).

In addition to the international ELET indicator, Italy quantifies the phenomenon of early school leaving at national level, from the data of the National Student Registry. The Registry collects a lot of information and data relating to each learner in the Italian school system, for administrative purposes. The National Student Registry was established by legislative decree no. 76 of 15 April 2005; subsequently, ministerial decree no. 74/2010 gave full implementation and defined the characteristics and methods of data acquisition. The main purpose of the Registry is to establish a tool to monitor early school leaving in Italy.

For ISCED 2 and ISCED 3, the drop-out rate is processed. It includes:

  • learners attending school who interrupt their attendance without a valid reason before the end of the year (dropping out during the year) – ISCED 2;
  • learners who attend the entire school year in ISCED 2, but do not move to the following year, either the next school year or repeating the same year (dropping out between school years);
  • learners who do not pass from ISCED 2 to ISCED 3;
  • learners attending school who interrupt their attendance without a valid reason before the end of the year (dropping out during the year) – ISCED 3;
  • learners who attend the entire school year in ISCED 3, but do not move to the following year, either the next school year or repeating the same year (dropping out between school years).

The operational definition of out-of-school monitors two school years, in ISCED 2 and 3:

  1. attendance interruption (drop-out) during the school year;
  2. non-attendance at the following school year of those who attended the whole school year (drop-out between one school year and the next).

In both cases, inexcusable non-attendance and non-recovered drop-out are considered.