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Italy > Key Groups Italy > Key Groups

Formal schooling in Italy has two main phases: primary and lower secondary (students aged 6-14) and upper secondary and vocational education (students aged 14-16 (compulsory), with some vocational courses being offered to students up to the age of 25).

The Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) is the principal administrative body, although in recent years many of its powers have been decentralised. Schools now have a considerable degree of autonomy in how they organise tuition and conduct the teaching and learning processes. The National Curriculum also allows for individual schools to adapt their approach in light of their specific context. Responsibility for school education is represented at the local level by regional and provincial education officers.

Central governmental bodies such as these support schools in their use of ICT in teaching and learning. A widespread reform in 2003 across all schools reformed the provision and use of ICT. It supplied schools with multimedia equipment, connected schools to the Internet, set up networks and services and undertook a revision of how teachers were trained with ICT. These developments have continued into more recent years. The Ministry of Education has undertaken a number of recent projects. These projects include the Digital School which has focused on two main areas.

Firstly, a large implementation of interactive whiteboard technologies has been undertaken. This saw 18,000 interactive whiteboards supplied to lower secondary schools in 2009, with an additional 10,000 boards going to primary and upper secondary schools by the end of 2011. The National Agency for the Support of School Autonomy devised and implemented an in-service teacher training program for the proficient use of these interactive whiteboards and have trained 75,000 teachers.

The Cl@ssi 2.0 project has experimented with a range of innovative learning environments at the lower secondary school level. This investigation into the impact of ICT and the new learning environment on students' performance and skills will continue for a further two years. As part of this project, one-to-one provision is being monitored. Emerging evidence suggests that teachers like this model but often experience serious management issues.

The School Family project has provided new services to assist the communication between schools and families, including online reports, digital registers, surveys of students' attendance and access to online student files. The project began in December 2009 and has spanned the work of 4,180 schools.

In the field of teacher training, eLearning initiatives have been developed for the training of school staff. The ForTic Program saw the development of a web portal that offered teachers and others technological training through a blended learning approach. The program ran from 2005 – 2008 with the following three key aims:

  • To improve teaching and learning processes in specific ICT subjects and through general ICT-related skills;
  • To empower students in gaining practical understanding of different ICT tools, styles of learning, communication and dissemination of information;
  • To enhance teachers' professional capabilities by training them in the use and application of ICT as part of their administrative role and within their pedagogical approaches.

ForTic also examined and implemented different models for the provision and location of ICT resources within schools. A range of solutions were implemented, including:

  • Setting up multimedia laboratories for all students within a specific class;
  • Including a few workstations within a classroom to encourage blended learning and group work;
  • Providing ICT service centres within schools.