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Education System in Italy: Understanding Italy Education System for International Students

Yocket Editorial Team

Italy has long since been a hub of great quality education. It has proudly cradled great men like Galileo Galilei and Copernicus. A part of the credit goes to the effective education system in Italy. Home to some renowned Universities like Politecnico di Milano and the University of Bologna, Italy offers a wide range of courses to pursue at various levels. 

Portraying its emphasis on education, the Italian government has mandated education for ages 6 to 16. In Italy education system for international students allures many people from different corners of the world. Keep on reading as we have brought to you everything that you need to know about the education system in Italy, and a lot more! 

  Table of Contents 

  1. How Does Education System in Italy Work? 
  2. Primary Education in Italy 
  3. Higher Education in Italy
  4. Grading System in Italy 

How does Education System in Italy Work?

Let us break down the education system in Italy for international students! The education system in Italy is basically divided into five levels. We have brought to you the most relevant data regarding each of these stages below: 


Key Information


  • For the age group 3-5
  • It is the first time that children introduced to schooling 

Elementary School

  • For the age group 6-11
  • This is the foundation level where children start learning alphabets and numbers

Middle School

  • For the age group 11-15
  • This stage marks the completion of the compulsory education 

High School

  • For the age group 15-19
  • This is the pre-university level where children build their basic knowledge about specific subjects.


  • For students over the age of 19 years
  • Consists of 3 cycles; Bachelor’s, Masters, and Doctoral degree

Suggested: Italy Student Visa Requirements for International Students! 

Primary Education in Italy

Italy has both public and private schools. Public education is free for all children who are resident in Italy regardless of nationality in addition to the fact most public schools are outdoing private schools. Primary Education is mandatory in the nation.


Kindergartens or Daycare centres are for the young ones. Public daycare centres can cost you something between EUR 170 and EUR 440,  depending on your location and family income. Private schools might cost you anything from EUR 600 to EUR 700. Kindergarten education is not mandated but you have a free seat for your child in one of the state schools.

Elementary School

Elementary schooling is compulsory for all Italian residents between the age of 6 to 11. It usually is a weekly 27 hours of teaching and learning which goes on for a period of 5 years. The following classes make up the mandatory curriculum:

  • Italian                                                              
  • English
  • History
  • Geography 
  • Mathematics 
  • Science 
  • Music
  • Arts 
  • Physical Education 
  • Technology 

Middle School

Middle School or Lower Secondary education if for the age group of 11 to 15. It falls under the category of compulsory education.

High School

High school or Upper Secondary education is when students go on to choose subjects of their choice for further specialisation. Public high schools are free of cost, unlike private schools.

Renowned Schools in Italy

Some of the renowned schools of Italy are listed below: 

British Schools

  • International School of Milan (ISM)
  • British Forces School (BFS), in Naples

French Schools

  • Lycée International Victor Hugo, in Florence
  • Lycée Stendhal, in Milan

Catholic Schools

  • Cicognini National Boarding School, in Prato
  • Istituto San Leone Magno, in Rome

Now that you are familiarised with the basic structure of the Italian Education System, let us now see why the Italy education system for international students attracts around 32,000 international students every year.

Schooling hours in Italy may vary from institute to institute. While some schools run from 8:00 to 13:00, Monday to Friday, others run from Monday to Saturday till 16:00 with an hour of lunch break in between. 

Higher Education in Italy

Italy is preferred by many students around the globe for some specific courses. Let us see which Italian courses are most sought at which levels.

Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor’s is an undergraduate course that you can take. It usually is a subject-specific 4-year course although some Bachelor’s courses might also be 3-year courses. You usually spend one year of your Bachelor’s gaining professional field experience while you complete your internship. 

The following are the most popular Bachelor’s degree courses in Italy: 

  • Bachelors in Business & Management
  • Bachelors in Economics
  • Bachelors in Social Sciences
  • Bachelors in Art and Design

Masters Degree

Masters is a postgraduate course that you can pursue after your Bachelor’s. It usually is a 2-year course aimed at imbuing subject-specific high-level proficiency in students. The following are the most popular Masters degree courses in Italy: 

  • Masters in Economics 
  • Masters in Area & Cultural Studies 
  • Masters in International Relations
  • Masters in Fashion Design 

Suggested: All about Studying Masters in Italy for International Students

Renowned Universities in Italy

Italy has some of the top universities ranking within 500 in the QS World Rankings.  Few of them are mentioned here:

Recommended: Best Universities in Italy for Masters

Grading System in Italy

The grading system in Italy is a 10 point grading system with 6 as the minimum passing grade. Every grade has its corresponding description that allows one to gauge his/her proficiency level in the subject.


Grade Description


Ottimo (Excellent)


Distinto (Very Good)


Buono (Good)


Sufficiente (Sufficient)


Respinto (Fail)

The Ministry of Public Instruction for preschool, primary, and secondary education and the Ministry for Universities and Scientific Research are the bodies responsible for maintaining the education system in Italy. 3.8% of the Italian GDP is spent on education every year. With such a precise and effective educational system Italy continues to give birth to many more men of knowledge who contribute in bits towards a better tomorrow. 

Suggested: Top 10 MBA Colleges in Italy! 


Frequently Asked Questions about Education System in Italy

What is the average class strength in Italy?

What is the difference between public and private schools in Italy?

Why should you consider Italy for higher education?

Are public universities free in Italy?

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