Education system in Italy



Italy is considered as a pioneer when it comes to creating and implementing a formal learning structure. From its roots dating back to a couple of centuries until today, the Eternal City has been consistent in ensuring that its people receive nothing but educational excellence.                        

After becoming a parliamentary republic in 1946, the Italian government has been paying for the education of all its citizens starting primary up to university level. Because of this reform, most locals and eligible international students choose to attend state-funded schools. The Italian educational system is divided into several levels:

  • Pre-school (not state-funded)
  • Scuola Primaria or Primary level (Ages 6 to 11)
  • Scuola Media or Lower Secondary level (Ages 11 to 14)
  • Scuola Superio or Upper Secondary level (Ages 14 to 19)
  • Tertiary Education or University Level

Italy implements scuola dell’obbligo (compulsory education) for children ages 6 to 16 and continues to be state funded. Though the education remains free, there is a tasse d’iscrizione (enrolment tax) of around €20 that students ages 16 years old and above must pay upon admission. Tasse d’iscrizione for university level usually increases up to €130 while the rest of the educational expenses remain shouldered by the local government. Students coming from non-EU states must secure first a student visa before they can be eligible to Italy’s free education.

Grades distribution usually varies in private schools in private or international schools. However, expats can still refer to the table below for an idea of the Italian grading system:


Grade Description

US Grade

9.00 – 10.00

Ottimo (Excellent)

A +

8.00 – 8.99

Distinto (With Distinction


7.00 – 7.99

Buono (Good)


6.00 – 6.99

Sufficiente (Sufficient)


0.00 – 5.99

Respinto (Fail)


The typical school year in Italy starts from mid-September until the end of June where students attend classes from 8:30 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon. Expats should also prepare to entrust the education of their kids to the teachers because they function independently with little involvement required from the parents. Compiti (home work), written and oral exams play great roles when it comes to evaluating a student in Italy. Each student is also expected to acquire a satisfactory grade in all subjects each school year.