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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 19 March 2024


The Constitution of the Italian Republic states that school is open to all and that compulsory schooling is free of charge (Art. 34). The Italian education and training system is organised according to the principles of subsidiarity and autonomy of school institutions. The State has the exclusive legislative competence for the 'general rules on education' as well as for determining the essential levels of services that must be guaranteed throughout the national territory. The State also defines the fundamental principles that the regions must respect when exercising their specific powers. The Regions have concurrent legislative powers in the field of education and exclusive legislative powers in the field of education and vocational training. State educational institutions have teaching, organisational and research, experimentation and development autonomy.

On 9 January 2020, the Government approved the Law Decree No. 1 establishing two separate Ministries: the Ministry of University and Research (MUR) and the Ministry of Education and Merit (former Ministry of Education). The Ministry of University and Research (MUR) is responsible for the administration of the country's universities and for scientific and technological research. It is made up of General Directorates that deal with a variety of university subjects, research development, right to study, artistic, musical and dance training, strategies and development of the internationalisation of scientific and technological research, consultancy, study and research, personnel and general affairs. Over the years, various representative, advisory and evaluation bodies have been set up, including the National University Council (CUN), an elective body representing autonomous university institutions, and the National Council of University Students (CNSU), an advisory body representing university students.

The Ministry of Education and Merit performs functions relating to the implementation of school regulations and the general organisation of school education, to the definition of educational objectives and the legal, economic and social security status of school staff. In addition, it is in charge of the planning and management of human, financial and instrumental resources and performs functions relating to financial policy, procurement, management of human resources of the school administration, management of information systems. 

The Regional School Office is a peripheral office of the Ministry of Education and Merit, divided by functions and territory, with offices at a provincial level (Ambiti territoriali). The Regional School Office monitors compliance with the general rules on education and the essential levels of services, the implementation of school systems, the levels of effectiveness of training and compliance with the standards programmed. It also oversees the implementation, in the territorial area for which it is responsible, of national policies for integrated training provision, adult education, as well as higher technical education and training and school-work relations.

The Higher Education Council is the body that guarantees the unity of the national education system. It has the task of providing technical and scientific support for the exercise of government functions in the areas of "university education, school regulations, school curricula, general organisation of school education and the legal status of personnel" (Law 59/1997, Article 1(3) (q)). The Council makes proposals and issues mandatory and optional opinions. It consists of 36 members, half of whom are elected from among teachers, school managers and administrative staff, while the other half are appointed by the Ministry of Education and Merit. In addition, INVALSI (National Institute for the Evaluation of the Education System) and INDIRE (National Institute for Documentation, Innovation and Educational Research) operate at a central level. 

Indire, which together with Invalsi and the Mi-Mur inspection body is part of the National Evaluation System, is based in Florence and is organised at a peripheral level into three territorial units based in Turin, Rome and Naples.

Indire has consolidated experience in the field of educational research and documentation as well as in the use of new technologies for the in-service training of teaching, administrative, technical and auxiliary staff and school managers. Within the National Evaluation System, it has the specific task of supporting school institutions in the processes of improvement and educational innovation. In addition, it participates in international initiatives and cooperates with the regions and local authorities, also for the implementation of national system measures in the field of adult education and higher technical education and training (IFTS). It cooperates with the Ministry for the annual monitoring of adult education provision. 

Regarding VET pathways, the reference agency for research activities, monitoring of training pathways, system policies and governance and technical assistance to the regions is the National Institute for Public Policy Analysis (Inapp). It is a public research body, under the supervision of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies

The institute operates in the field of training, social and labour policies. It promotes and carries out study, research, experimentation, documentation, information and evaluation, consultancy and technical assistance activities. It provides technical and scientific support to the Ministry of Labour and other Ministries, to the Regions and Provinces, as well as to national and international institutions. It also plays an assisting role for the system actions of the European Social Fund. At the tertiary education level, the National University Council (CUN) and the National Council for Higher Education in Art and Music (CNAM), for the university sector and Higher Education in Art and Music respectively, have the task of formulating opinions and proposals on matters of general interest, with particular regard to the planning and approval of teaching regulations, along with the recruitment of professors and researchers. The National Council of University Students (CNSU) is the representative body of students at a national level, with advisory and propositional duties on matters of general interest for universities. 

Intersectoral cooperation

The Italian Government's policies in favour of the younger generations are supported through the resources of the National Fund for Youth Policies (see chapter 1.7) in order to promote the right of young people to cultural and professional training as well as to inclusive participation in democratic and social life. The Fund is intended to finance actions and projects of both a national and local interest. Some sources of funding for cross-sectoral projects are linked to regional youth laws or programs approved in recent years. 

Here some examples:

  • For the Piemonte Region, it is worth mentioning Regional Law No. 6 of 01 March 2019, to which specific initiatives, projects and calls for proposals are referred
  • For Liguria: Regional Law n. 6 of 9 April 2009 Promotion of Policies for Minors and Youth.
  •  The Regional Law n.14 of 2008 'Norms on policies for young generations' of the Emilia Romagna Region which has a specific portal on young people and the project Patto Giovani Più.
  • The Lombardy Region has recently instituted the Regional Law n. 4 on youth policies approved on 31 March 2022. In addition to the recent Regional Law n.4, Lombardy has launched a number of initiatives to promote youth activism, including a web page entirely dedicated to the initiatives of the Lombardy Region for the under-35s; a Youth Working Group, to share with all the General Directorates of the Lombardy Region strategic themes and priority areas of intervention for young people. The cornerstone of the region's youth policy is the 'La Lombardia è dei giovani' (Lombardy belongs to young people) initiative, which supports projects throughout Lombardy for the participation and autonomy of young people. The mapping of projects financed by the Lombardy Region on young people can be consulted on the dedicated portal, together with the Strategic Document on Young People, as well as the result of the collaboration between the Directorates-General, to present the guidelines and prospects on the subject of youth policies.
  • Giovanisì, is the project of the Tuscany Region for the autonomy of young people. A system of opportunities structured in 7 macro areas: internships, housing, civil service, doing business, study and training, work and Giovanisì+ (participation, culture, legality, social and sport). 
  • The Puglia Region, within the scope of its competences, in harmony with the Constitution and in compliance with European and national provisions, in particular Law 285 of 28 August 1997 (Provisions for the promotion of rights and opportunities for children and adolescents), approved Regional Law no. 14 of 7 July 2020 'Regional measures in favour of adolescents' aimed at all young people aged between 14 and 19, individually or in association, including informal groups, residing in the region, even if they do not hold Italian citizenship. The 2014-2020 Operational Programme of the Puglia Region promotes training, access to the world of work and business creation for young people through various initiatives. 
  • For the Lazio region instead, the project 'GenerAzioni - Regione Lazio per i Giovani' (Generations - The Lazio Region for Young People), aims to promote creativity and youth commitment through economic and training support for projects developed in the field of cultural, social and technological innovation. The intervention aims to combine cultural and social policies for young people with those for work, declining them at a local level, so as to become a factor of local development.

Quality assurance

The quality assurance functions of the university system are carried out by the National Agency for the Evaluation of the University System and Research (Anvur), a public body supervised by the Ministry of Education and Merit. Finally, the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI) expresses its opinion on the determination, for each three-year period, of the objectives of the university system and the allocation of financial resources set by the Ministry. Regions have concurrent legislative competence in education and exclusive competence in vocational education and training (VET), both for the planning, management and provision of training through accredited structures. The Regions exercise these competences in close cooperation, through the unified State/Regions Conference, with the Ministry of Education and Merit, the Ministry of University and Research and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, which define the essential levels of services referred, respectively, to the education and vocational training systems. The regional competence encompasses interventions aimed at initial integration, including higher technical and vocational training, further training and retraining, continuous training, etc. These interventions cover all training activities, including the training of young people and the development of their skills. These interventions concern all the training activities aimed at obtaining a qualification, a higher qualification diploma or a training credit, but they do not lead to the awarding of a qualification, even if they are certifiable for the purposes of obtaining such qualifications.

Furthermore, the Regions are responsible for planning the school network on the basis of provincial plans, determining the school calendar, contributions to non-state schools and the right to university study. The Regions carry out their functions in the field of education and training through the Education and Training Departments (which may take on different names in the various Regions). The main competences of the Regions in the field of education and vocational training can also be further delegated to the Provinces and to the Municipalities, according to a tendency to reserve planning and control functions to the Regions policy making while reducing more and more the management functions.