By: Ng Scherly Hansopaheluwakan, S.E, MIB
Education is compulsory for 10 years in the first cycle (primary and lower secondary education) and the first two years of the second cycle (from 6 to 16 years of age). Therefore, the last two years from 14 to 16 years of age, can be completed either in upper secondary schools or within the three-year vocational education and training courses (falling under the competence of the Regions).
Universities are divided into different faculties and provide a degree (“Laurea”).
The former system provided a university degree after four or five years, eventually followed by a PhD. A new regulation (1999) has introduced three levels of university degrees: a basic three year degree; a specialist two year degree; and a PhD degree.
Higher education is completed by a large number of private and public postgraduate courses, generically called “Master”. The actual level of qualification and the official ministerial backing of such supplementary courses have yet to be assessed specifically.
The number of people taking advanced secondary school and University courses is slightly below the OECD average but is constantly increasing.
Education still varies with age and sex, although this gap is being reduced.
IT and foreign language competencies are generally lacking among the older generations but this situation is improving with the younger generations as IT and foreign language courses have been compulsorily introduced at all levels, starting with primary schools.
Young people are more interested in travelling abroad and are very interested in European exchanges. Many Italian students join mobility projects within EU countries, often to complete their academic studies or to carry out research projects in other European Universities.
Over the last twenty years the education system in Italy has seen a series of transformations. A recent education reform has been implemented from the 1st of September 2010 regarding the organisation of the High Schools (two categories: Licei and Technical and Professional Institutes) and the University system (the presence of an ethics code, amendments to academic professors and researchers evaluation methodologies and recruitment procedures, reduction of disciplines, etc).
In September 2009, the Minister of Work, Health and Social Policies jointly with the Minister of Education, Universities and Research, presented project “Italy 2020″: a plan of action to support youth employment by integrating learning and working”. The actions are tailored towards re-launching technical-vocational education, to enhance apprentice contracts and focus on the need to reform the university offer, by reducing mismatches between demand and offers of work.
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