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Italy:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

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Overview Italy

Contents

Italy:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Italy:Historical Development

Italy:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Italy:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Italy:Political and Economic Situation

Italy:Organisation and Governance

Italy:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Italy:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Italy:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Italy:Organisation of Private Education

Italy:National Qualifications Framework

Italy:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Italy:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Italy:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Italy:Funding in Education

Italy:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Italy:Higher Education Funding

Italy:Adult Education and Training Funding

Italy:Early Childhood Education and Care

Italy:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Italy:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Italy:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Italy:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Italy:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Italy:Primary Education

Italy:Organisation of Primary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Italy:Assessment in Primary Education

Italy:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Italy:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Italy:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Italy:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Higher Education

Italy:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Italy:First Cycle Programmes

Italy:Bachelor

Italy:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Italy:Second Cycle Programmes

Italy:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Italy:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Italy:Adult Education and Training

Italy:Distribution of Responsibilities

Italy:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Italy:Main Providers

Italy:Main Types of Provision

Italy:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Italy:Teachers and Education Staff

Italy:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Italy:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Italy:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Italy:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Management and Other Education Staff

Italy:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Italy:Management Staff for Higher Education

Italy:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Italy:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Quality Assurance

Italy:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Italy:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Educational Support and Guidance

Italy:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Italy:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Italy:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Italy:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Italy:Mobility and Internationalisation

Italy:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Mobility in Higher Education

Italy:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Italy:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Italy:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Italy:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Italy:National Reforms in School Education

Italy:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Italy:National Reforms in Higher Education

Italy:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Italy:European Perspective

Italy:Legislation

Italy:Glossary

Administration and governance at local level

Local administration includes Provinces and Municipalities (comuni), which have responsibilities in different areas and at different levels of the education system.

Provinces are assigned specific functions for to upper secondary education only. In particular, Provinces are responsible for premises, for the organisation of the school network (institution, aggregation or suppression of schools), suspension of school activities, constitution, control and dissolution of collegiate bodies, organisation of services to assure the right to study (e.g. transport to sport centres outside the school, support for the purchase of textbooks, etc.). From 1st January 2015, the Provinces have been transformed in "institutional bodies of second level" and 10 special Metropolitan cities have been created (Law 56/2014). According to this reorganisation, responsibilities of Provinces in education may change in the future.

Municipalities, often representing small residential communities and restricted areas, are distributed throughout Italy and have their own or regionally or provincially delegated responsibilities related to pre-primary, primary and lower secondary schools. In particular, Municipalities deal with the provision and ordinary and extraordinary maintenance of school premises. Moreover, they supply services such as transport to school, canteens offered free of charge or at lower price, depending on the economic circumstances of families, vouchers for textbooks and financial grants, etc. This issue is regulated by general regulations laid down by the State and by Regional laws. In order to improve services, small Municipalities sometimes join as consortia or associations of Municipalities. Moreover, Municipalities are responsible for the institution, aggregation, fusion and suppression of schools and for the organisation of school networks at the education levels of their competence.

Provinces and Municipalities carry out their specific education-related functions through dedicated educational offices (Assessorati).

Administration and governance at institutional level

Pre-primary, primary, secondary and post-secondary levels

Schools at pre-primary, primary and secondary level have teaching, organisational and research autonomy. Autonomy can be granted only to schools with a number of pupils likely to remain constant for at least five years and ranging from 500 to 900 pupils; in small islands, mountain municipalities and geographical areas with ethnic and linguistic peculiarities, the number can decrease to 300 pupils.

Comprehensive institutes group primary schools, lower secondary schools and pre-primary schools managed by a single school manager. Law 111/2011 has generalised this type of school organisation with the purpose of assuring didactic continuity within the same cycle of education. The generalisation implies the suppression of all separate primary and lower secondary schools. Comprehensive schools gain autonomy when they have at least 1 000 pupils enrolled, lowered to 500 in schools in rural areas, small islands and areas with linguistic specificity. The reorganisation of the school network falls under the responsibilities of the Regions.

Laws no. 11 and no. 183 of 2011 have also established that autonomous schools, regardless of the level of education, with less than 600 pupils enrolled, lowered to 400 in schools in rural areas, small islands and areas with linguistic specificity, cannot be assigned their own school manager. Instead, they are governed by school managers of other autonomous schools that reach the minimum number of pupils required. 

The Ministry of Education (MIUR) lays down a general framework for school autonomy to ensure uniformity within the Italian educational system. In fact, the Ministry of Education sets the general objectives of the educational process, the 'specific learning objectives' for pupils' skills, the subjects on the minimum national curriculum and the annual number of teaching hours dedicated to them, the total annual compulsory timetable for curricula, standards for the quality of education services, general criteria for pupil assessment, general criteria for the organisation of adult education study paths.  

Each school draws up its own Educational offer Plan (Piano dell'offerta formativa, POF) which is the basic document setting out the cultural and planning identity of the school. It must be consistent with the general and educational objectives set at national level and, at the same time, it must reflect cultural, social and economic requirements at local level.

The Plan should give priority to objectives such as strengthening competences in languages, arts, music, mathematics and sciences, sports, active citizenship, developing digital competences, increasing alternance training, tackling early leaving, gender inequalities and discriminations. The Plan also includes training initiatives for students like first aid technics and training initiatives for teaching and non-teaching staff.

The Teachers' Council (collegio dei docenti) draws up the POF on the basis of general objectives defined by the school manager and the District/School Council approves it. The POF covers a period of three school years and can be revised annually. Schools should give suitable publicity to their Plan, which is also published on the Portal on school data of the Ministry of education.

According to their teaching and organisation autonomy, schools can adopt the flexibility required to adapt the curriculum and teaching paths to pupils' specific learning needs. For example, they can opt for a flexible organisation of the total and/or single subjects teaching time, or adopt teaching units (lessons) not corresponding to teaching hours, they can organise activities for groups of pupils of different classes. Finally, they can widen their offer with optional subjects and activities chosen taking into account the cultural, social and economic context.

Schools can promote networks for teaching, research and experimental purposes, purchase of goods and services, temporary exchange of teachers. Furthermore, schools, individually or through a network, can draw up agreements with public or private universities, organisations, associations or agencies as well as special arrangements with voluntary associations and organisations of the private social sector.

Schools have administrative and accountancy autonomy, except for what concerns staff (staff recruitment, mobility, recognition of foreign qualification, disciplinary sanctions).

Schools are administered and managed by the different bodies described below.

The School manager (Dirigente scolastico)

The school manager is the legal representative of the institution and is responsible for its overall management, the management of financial and material resources and the quality of the service provided.

Outside of the functions of the school’s committees and boards,  the school manager acts autonomously in his duties of direction, co-ordination, and deployment of human resources, in order to organise school activities efficiently and effectively. He or she also promotes the actions needed to safeguard the quality of the educational process and ensure the collaboration of cultural, professional social and economic resources in the community.

According to the new teachers' recruitment procedures introduced by law 107/2015, from school year 2016/2017, the school manager will directly offer the teaching posts available to teachers included in the relevant local lists.

In carrying out his management and administrative duties, the school manager can delegate specific tasks  to teachers. The school manager is also assisted by the Director of general and administrative services (DSGA, see below).

For further details on School managers' recruitment and professionale status, please see 'Management staff for early childhood and school education'.

The Director of general and administrative services (DSGA)

The Director for general and administrative services (Direttore dei servizi generali e amministrativi- DSGA) is the administrative manager of the school.

The DSGA has operational autonomy and, within the general instructions and the objectives assigned by the school manager, supervises the administrative and general services of the school and co-ordinates the relevant staff.

The DSGA arranges the issue of those certificates that do not require discretionary assessment, formulates projects and proposals for improving the services under his or her responsibility, gathers information and arranges the conclusion of contracts, agreements and conventions. He or she is automatically a member of the Executive Board and the District/School Council (see below).

Committees and Boards

The District Council and the School Council

The District Council (at primary level) and the School Council (in comprehensive institutes and in secondary schools) are made up of elected representatives of teaching and non-teaching staff, parents and, in upper secondary schools, students. The school manager is an ex-officio member. The Chairman is elected from among parent representatives. The Councils make decisions on the budget and the balance and it decides upon any use of financing. They make decisions on the organisation of school activities, with due observance of the functions of the Teachers' Council. They approve the three-year educational offer plan (POF) of the school.

The Teachers' Council

The Teachers' Council (Collegio dei docenti) is made up of the permanent and temporary teachers from each district or institute. It is chaired by the school manager. It draws up the educational offer plan (POF) in accordance with the general guidelines of the school manager. The Teachers' Council also make decisions on teaching methods and periodically evaluates the general development of teaching to verify its effectiveness in line with the planned objectives, and proposes, wherever necessary, appropriate measures to improve educational activities. The Council selects textbooks, after consulting the Inter-class Council (Consiglio di interclasse) and Class Council (see below), and teaching materials within the financial limits laid down by the District/School Council. Finally, it submits proposals to the School manager on the organisation of class groups, the teaching timetable and the allocation of teachers to individual classes.

Inter-section and inter-class Councils

The Inter-section Council in pre-primary schools (at pre-primary level children are organised in groups called 'sections') and the inter-class Council in primary schools   consist of teachers from all classes or sections from every school in the school district and one parent elected for each class or section.
The class Council at lower secondary level is made up of all the teachers of that class, four parent representatives, elected by and from among the parents of all the pupils in the class, and the school manager who chairs the Council meetings or delegates this task to one of the class teachers. Two student representatives and two parents' representatives also serve on the Council in upper secondary schools.

When meeting in the presence of parents and, if allowed, students, these Councils are charged with facilitating relations among stakeholders in the school community. They also submit proposals on education and teaching activities to the Teachers' Council.

In teachers-only meetings of the Councils, they also plan activities and carry out the periodic and final pupil assessments.

Committee for the evaluation of teachers

Every school has a Teacher Evaluation Committee in charge for three school years. It is made up of:

  • three teachers, two chosen by the teachers’ council and one by the school council;
  • two representatives of parents in pre-primary, primary and lower secondary schools and, in upper secondary schools, one representative of students and one of parents, all chosen by the school council;
  • one external member appointed by the regional school office among teachers, school managers and administrative managers.

It is chaired by the school manager.

The Committee is committed with the definition of the criteria that the school manager will apply for awarding a yearly bonus (ancillary remuneration) taken from a fund specifically allocated by the Ministry of education for the valorisation of merit of teachers. Criteria should be based on teaching quality, the improvement of students’ competences and on innovation of teaching, and responsibilities taken in the organisation of the school life. Moreover, the Committee establishes the number of beneficiaries of the bonus and, as a consequence, the amount of each bonus.

Moreover, the Committee expresses its opinion on the service of teachers during their induction period; on requests for reinstatement of teachers who have undergone disciplinary action and by request of individual teachers, on their service for a period not longer than the previous three years.

The role of students

Students at upper secondary schools elect representatives for the class and school councils and are entitled to hold meetings within the school so they can exercise their right to democratic participation in the school’s activities.

Students' meetings, which can be held at both class and school level, provide an opportunity to analyse educational and social problems with a view to enhancing the cultural and social development of the students themselves. Student representatives in the class council can form a student committee authorised to express opinions and make proposals to the school council.

The Charter of students in secondary schools (D.P.R. no. 249 of 24 June 1998 and D.P.R. no. 235 of 21 November 2007) establishes the rights and duties of pupils. Students have the right to a qualified cultural and vocational education, the freedom to learn, transparent and rapid evaluation and respect for cultural and religious life of the community they belong to. On the other hand students have a duty to attend school regularly, to fulfil study requirements in a consistent manner, behave correctly towards the school manager, teachers, school staff and their fellow students and comply with the organisation and safety rules of each school. As autonomous entities, all schools have regulations establishing which behaviours constitute a breach of conduct, taking into account the basic principle that disciplinary measures must have educational aims. Thus, disciplinary measures must always be temporary and aim to redress an injury;. Students can be offered the chance to convert disciplinary measures into services performed for the school community. Temporary expulsion from school, can be decided by committees and boards only for serious and repeated breaches of discipline and cannot last more than 15 days. For particularly serious offences, such as violation of dignity or respect of other people also by endangering their lives, the school Council can also decide to expel students for periods longer than 15 days. For serious crimes, or relapse, expulsion can last up to the end of the school year and lead to the exclusion from final evaluation procedures including the final State exam. It is possible to appeal against disciplinary measures to a Watchdog office of the school. This body falls within the regulations of the institute; however, among its members there must be also one representative of the students of upper secondary schools and one representative of the parents of pupils attending the lower secondary school. It is possible to appeal against the decision adopted by the internal Watchdog office addressing to the head of the Regional School Office; this administration level is responsible to issue a definitive decision after having heard the binding opinion of the regional Watchdog office.

At provincial level, the Students Council of is made up of two students from every upper secondary institute and has the functions of ensuring debate among students from all schools in the province and of making suggestions and expressing opinions to educational authorities, local authorities and territorial committees and boards.

Finally, the National Forum of the most representative student associations is headquartered in the Directorate General for students, within the Ministry of Education The Forum aims to foster the dialogue between the Ministry and the student associations, it represents the students’ needs, formulates proposals and expresses opinions either upon request of the Minister or on its own initiative.

The role of parents

At all school levels, parents elect their class and school Council representatives and are entitled to hold meetings within the school so they can exercise their right to democratic participation in the school’s activities. Meetings can be held at both class and school level and can be attended by the School manager and teachers, who have no voting rights. Parents can choose.

Parents can choose to form associations outside school institutions depending on their educational aims, ideology or religion and they can stand for election with their own symbols to become  representatives in the committee and boards.

Parents’ representatives are also members of the Committee for the evaluation of teachers.

Finally, the Ministry of Education has set up the National Forum of the most representative parent associations, with tasks similar to those of the Forum of students associations. The Forum sits at least three times a year and adopts its own internal regulations. It is headquartered is at the Directorate General for Students’ Status, which ensures support for organisation and secretary services.

The Ministry and the National parent associations have signed a draft agreement to prevent and tackle episodes of intolerance and violence at school.

Tertiary education

Universities and institutions for Higher Education in Art and Music (AFAM) have regulatory and organisational autonomy. Autonomy means that these institutions can issue their own charters and teaching regulations.

Directors of AFAM institutes are responsible for teaching, scientific and artistic organisation and are also legally liable for their area of representative. Directors are elected by the teaching staff of the institute. The chairman is the legal representative of the institutions (with the exception of the responsibilities of the Director). He or she is appointed by the Minister among a number of three persons designated by the Academic Council, which is a board made up of the Director and students' and teachers' representatives.

The direction and management of universities is conducted at  two levels: university level (Ateneo) and department level. Intermediate structures, generally Faculties, may also co-ordinate the educational offer.  

University (Ateneo) level

The Rector is the legal representative of the university and his/her duties include policy, initiative and the coordination of scientific and teaching activities. He or she is responsible for the fulfilment of the university’s quality objectives and for guaranteeing the principles of efficacy, efficiency, transparency and the promotion of merit . He or she issues the three-year university planning document and the annual and three-year budgets and financial sttement. The Academic Senate submits proposals and gives mandatory instructions on teaching and research issues and on services for students. It approves the university regulations and code of ethics and can set up, modify or close courses, departments or other facilities and can also put forward a motion of no confidence in the Rector. Its members are elected and their number depends on the size of the individual university, although this number is always less than 35. It is chaired by the Rector, and its members are student representatives, at least two thirds are professors, of whom one third are Directors of department. This body is in office for 4 years and its mandate can be renewed only once.

The Board of directors it is responsible for the administrative, financial and economic management of the university, as well as the management of the technical and administrative staff. it approves the university’s budget and final accounts. It is made up of maximum 11 members, including Rector and student representatives. The other members are appointed according to procedures decided by every single university among Italians and foreigners known for their managerial experience or for their highevel professional experience. Members are in office for 4 years, except for student representatives who are in office for 2 years. Their mandate can be renewed only once.

The Director general is the highest member of the administration. He or she is in charge of the overall management and organisation of services, resources and personnel. He participates inthe Board of directors without right of vote. He can be selected among people with a high-evel managerial professional qualification and known experience in the field. It is a renewable fixed-term employment lasting not longer than 4 years.

The Assessment team is made up of a body of high-level professionals mainly chosen from outside the university. It ensures the quality and efficacy of teaching and research carried out by the Departments.

Each university has its own charter which regulates the duties of other bodies working in collaboration with the above described bodies at university level.

Department level

The purpose of Departments is to conduct scientific research, teaching and educational activities, as well as  additional and related external activities. The Departments promote and co-ordinate research with due respect for the independence of individual researchers.

Furthermore, committees made up of students and teaching staff members are responsible for assessing the activities of individual Departments.

The main direction and management bodies, autonomously set up by the individual university are usually the following:

  • the Department Council is made up of teachers and researchers and representatives of non-teaching staff and students. It is chaired by the Director of the Department;
  • the Director of the Department is selected among professors. He represents the department, is responsible for relations with the academic assemblies, chairs the Department Council and leads its works.

Intermediate structures responsible for the organisation of the educational offer and student services can be included with Departments.  These structures include Departments with subject affinities. They are responsible for  proposing the launch or closure of study courses and the management of shared services. Usually called Faculties, these intermediate structures have their own board made up of the directors of the relevant  departments, representatives of teaching staff and students. Faculty  teacher-student joint committees may be set up in charge of monitoring activities, as for Departments.