Education in Italy is free and is compulsory for children aged between 6 and 16 years. The Italian education system is divided into nursery, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, and high school. University is usually undertaken at the age of 19. Primary education is the first stage of compulsory education. In the last school years, there have been around 2.7 million children enrolled in almost 17 thousand elementary schools. On average, Italian elementary schools have around 19 pupils in each class. However, regional differences are remarkable: the average number of children per class in Emilia-Romagna is 20.6, whereas a class in Aosta Valley had on average 14.6 scholars. Factors like urbanization and rural exodus could explain such differences. Indeed, Aosta Valley is a mountainous region, while Emilia Romagna is one of the main industrial centers of Italy.
Elementary education is followed by middle school. Students usually attend middle school for three years, from the age of 10 to 13. In the 2018/2019 school year, a total of 1.7 million students were enrolled in Italian middle schools. The Northern region of Lombardy counts the largest number of schools nationwide, followed by the Southern regions of Campania and Sicily. Together with the number of middle schools in the country, the average count of pupils per class has decreased slightly in recent years, reaching 20.8 children per class.
High school education follows to middle school and it has a duration of five years. Generally, students can choose among three different types of upper secondary schools: lyceums, technical schools, and vocational schools. Among the different types of Italian upper secondary schools, lyceums are those most of all preparing students for the tertiary education the most. Moreover, technical high schools offer both a technical and a theoretical preparation, while vocational schools mostly focus on practical training. Nevertheless, all these types of secondary schools allow students to apply to university.
About 40 percent of students who graduate from high school enroll at university. In the 2018/2019 academic year, the Central regions of Italy registered the highest enrollment rate, where 46 percent of all high school graduates decided to attend university. In the same year, there were over one million bachelor students in Italy, accounting for approximately 60 percent of all university students in the country. The most popular field of study in Italy is economics, followed by engineering. The largest Italian universities are La Sapienza University of Rome, in the Capital, the University of Bologna, which also ranks as the best Italian university, and the University of Turin.
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In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 27 most important statistics relating to "Education in Italy".