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 vocational education and training carried out by training structures accredited by the Regions.

Learners have the right and duty (diritto/dovere) to receive education and training for at least 12 years within the education system (up to age 18 years), that 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).  

Data on students enrolled in 'specialised schools'. These are not 'special schools', which were abolished in the Italian school system in 1977. Instead they are schools that mainly welcome students with disabilities, in particular serious or very serious health conditions, generally for certain periods of time. These schools can also be attended by pupils without disabilities and are often located in places of care where pupils who need them can follow therapeutic and rehabilitating paths, alternating them with moments of school attendance. Data is from Ministry of Education (MI).

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 assessed at schools 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 relevant medical committee of the national health system releases a document that certifies the disability and the consequent right to benefit from the support measures foreseen by the legislation in force. This document is a precondition to start the administrative procedures for school inclusion.

Following the disability evaluation, a Functioning Profile (FP) is released according to the criteria of the bio-psychosocial model of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) adopted by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The support measures for pupils with disabilities are then selected on the basis of the Functioning profile and the Individualised education plan (IEP).

The multidisciplinary evaluation unit that draws up the functioning profile is made up of the following members:

  1. a specialised doctor or an expert of the health conditions of the individual concerned;
  2. a child neuropsychiatrist;
  3. a rehabilitation therapist;
  4. a social assistant or a representative of the relevant local authority which is responsible for the subject concerned.

The parents of the pupil/student concerned and a school representative (better if they are a teacher from the pupil’s school) collaborate in drawing up the Functioning profile.

The Functioning profile identifies also the professionals, the types of support measures and the necessary structural resources for school inclusion. It is, therefore, a preliminary document for drawing up the Individualised educational plan (IEP).

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

The Individualised educational plan (IEP) describes the interventions planned for pupils/students with disabilities in a given period.

Teachers, support teachers, the class council, in collaboration with parents, specific professionals inside and outside the school, jointly draw up and approve the plan with the support of the multidisciplinary evaluation unit.

It mainly indicates tools and strategies to create a learning environment based on relationships, socialisation, interaction, communication, guidance and autonomy. It also indicates teaching and assessment methods according to the individualised planning.

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 may be reviewed during the school year, based on periodical assessment and the goals achieved. Every school year a new IEP is drawn.

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.