The Ministry of Public Instruction for preschool, primary schools, and secondary education and the Ministry for Universities and Scientific Research carry the major responsibility for the education system in Italy. Italian schools are based on state school system. There are both private schools as well as public schools.
The school system in Italy can be broadly divided into five parts:
- Nursery school - Scuola dell' Infanzia also known as Scuola Materna
On turning three years old, kids are eligible to attend the nursery school. It isn’t compulsory though.
- Elementary school – Scuola Primaria or Scuola Elementare
Starting from age 6 until 11, this school lasts for five years.
- Lower Secondary or Middle School - Scuola Secondaria di Primo Grado or Scuola Media
All children aged between eleven to fourteen must attend the middle school.
- Upper secondary school or vocational education - Scuola secondaria di secondo
It is also called high school or scuola superiore. It is for 15 to 18 or 19-year old. During this time, school students choose to specialize in subjects they prefer to make a career in. For example, liceo classico is grammar school, where you study more Literature, Latin, and Greek; liceo scientifico is about Science, Mathematics, Physics; liceo artistico is about Arts, how to make sculptures, etc; liceo linguistico is the study of languages like Italian, English, Spanish, and other languages. Also, there’s a difference between istituto tecnici (technical school) and istituto professionale (vocational education).
- Higher Education or University.
This is for those who are 19 and above. Italian universities are both state as well as non-state private universities.
Education Scuola or school education from 6 to 16 years of age is compulsory. The state says, “scuola dell’obbligo” i.e. you must go to school. Children, irrespective of their nationalities, who are Italian residents can avail free education. Additionally, schools in Italy have Italian language as a compulsory subject.