Overview of Education and VET System in Italy

Italy has a well-developed education system that encompasses both general education and

vocational education and training (VET). The education system in Italy is overseen by the Ministry

of Education, Universities, and Research (MIUR), which establishes educational policies and

guidelines.

➢ General Education:

In Italy, education is compulsory and free for children between the ages of 6 and 16. The general

education system is divided into three main levels:

• Primary Education (Scuola Primaria): This level covers grades 1 to 5 and focuses on

developing basic literacy, numeracy, and social skills.

• Lower Secondary Education (Scuola Secondaria di Primo Grado): Also known as middle

school, this level includes grades 6 to 8 or 9. Students receive a broad range of subjects,

including humanities, mathematics, sciences, foreign languages, and physical education.

• Upper Secondary Education (Scuola Secondaria di Secondo Grado): This level consists of

high school and offers different types of schools based on students’ interests and career

aspirations. The main types of high schools are:

a. Liceo: Liceo schools focus on providing a broad, general education with a strong

emphasis on humanities, sciences, foreign languages, and arts. There are various

types of liceo, such as liceo scientifico (science-focused), liceo classico (classical

studies), liceo linguistico (languages), etc.

b. Istituto Tecnico: These technical institutes offer a more vocational-oriented

curriculum, combining general education with technical subjects related to specific

fields such as technology, economics, tourism, and agriculture.

c. Istituto Professionale: These professional institutes focus on vocational training

and provide practical skills for specific professions, such as mechanics, electronics,

fashion, culinary arts, and more.

➢ Vocational Education and Training (VET):

Italy has a well-developed VET system that operates alongside the general education system. VET

programs aim to provide students with practical skills and knowledge relevant to specific

industries and occupations. VET is offered through several pathways:

Vocational Institutes (Istituti Professionali): These institutes provide specialized vocational

training in various fields. Students can earn a professional diploma upon completion, which

qualifies them for specific occupations.

Apprenticeship Training: Apprenticeships offer a combination of classroom instruction and on-

the-job training. Students work in a company while receiving vocational education in a vocational

school. This allows them to acquire practical skills and gain work experience simultaneously.

Vocational Training Courses: These courses are offered by vocational training centers and focus

on specific trades or skills. They are designed to enhance the employability of individuals or

provide them with new skills for career advancement.

The VET system in Italy aims to promote a strong link between education and the labor market,

with a focus on providing individuals with the necessary skills to enter the workforce successfully.

➢ Higher Education:

Italy has a prestigious higher education system with numerous universities, polytechnics, and

academies. Higher education institutions offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree

programs in various fields. Admission to universities is generally based on a competitive entrance

examination.

In general, Italy’s education system combines a strong foundation of general education with a

well-developed VET system, providing students with diverse pathways to pursue their interests

and career goals.

Common engineering curricula

These are just a few examples of common engineering curricula (may vary depending on the

country and educational institution):

➢ Technician in Electronics: This curriculum focuses on skills and knowledge in electronics,

including electronic circuits, communication systems, electronic devices, microcontrollers,

electrical networks and other electronic technologies.

➢ Technician in Electrical Engineering: This curriculum focuses on the principles and

applications of electrical engineering, including electrical circuits, power systems,

electrical machines, industrial automation, communication networks and information

technologies.

➢ Technician in Mechanics: This curriculum focuses on mechanical skills, including materials

and structures, machines, mechanical design, control systems, production technologies

and maintenance of machines and plants

➢ Technician in Industrial Automation: This curriculum focuses on industrial automation

skills, including industrial control systems, robotics, sensors and actuators, PLC

(Programmable Logic Controller) programming and monitoring systems.

➢ Technician in Electrical and Renewable Energy: This curriculum focuses on skills in

renewable energy technologies, including solar, wind, hydro and biomass systems, energy

conservation technologies and energy management systems (generation, distribution and

use of electricity).

➢ Technician in Civil Engineering: This curriculum focuses on skills in civil engineering,

including technical drawing, structural design, infrastructure engineering, construction

project management and construction technologies (the construction and management

of civil infrastructure, including buildings, bridges, roads, sewage and water systems).

➢ Technician in Computer Engineering: This curriculum focuses on skills in computer

engineering, including programming, databases, computer security, computer networks,

software development and artificial intelligence.

➢ Technician in Mechatronic Engineering: This curriculum integrates mechanical, electronic

and computer skills. It includes topics such as mechatronic systems, industrial automation,

control system design and integration of mechanical, electronic and software

components.

➢ Materials Engineering Technician: This curriculum focuses on materials skills, including

metallic, polymeric and ceramic materials, materials science, materials selection, heat

treatments and material properties.

➢ Information and Communications Technology Technician: This curriculum focuses on the

design, development and management of information systems and communication

networks. It includes topics such as programming, network administration, computer

security, software development and data management.

➢ Automotive Engineering Technician: This curriculum focuses on the design, development

and production of electric, hybrid and conventional vehicles. It includes skills in

mechanics, electronics, vehicle design, propulsion systems, automotive safety and

emission control.

Popular VET curricula in engineering

In Europe, there are several VET course curricula in engineering that are particularly in demand

and popular. However, it is important to note that the choice of curricula may vary from country

to country and depend on the specific needs of the local labour market. Listed below are some

VET curricula in engineering that are often preferred in Europe:

➢ Precision Mechanics

➢ Industrial automation and robotics

➢ Renewable energy

➢ Information and communication technology (ICT)

➢ Civil engineering and construction

➢ Automotive engineering

Europe has a strong vocational training system that includes specific courses in the field of

engineering. Here is some information on the situation of engineering VET institutions in Europe:

Countries with a strong tradition in engineering: countries such as Germany, Switzerland and

Austria are known for their high-quality vocational education systems in engineering. They offer

a wide range of VET courses in engineering that combine practical training in companies with

theoretical education in vocational schools.

Collaboration between institutions and industry: Many engineering VET institutions in Europe

collaborate closely with local industries to develop curricula and training programs that meet the

needs of the labour market. This results in more practice-oriented training and skills required by

the industry.

European-recognized certifications: In Europe, there are also European-recognized certifications

for professional skills in the engineering sector. For example, the European Qualifications

Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF) and the European Credit System for Vocational Education

and Training (ECVET) facilitate the transparency and recognition of qualifications acquired within

the European Union.

Mobility and exchange programs: Europe promote student and trainee mobility through

programs such as Erasmus+ and the European Mobility Charter. These programs provide

opportunities for VET engineering students to gain international experience, broaden their skills

and improve their knowledge of cutting-edge practices and technologies.

Innovation and emerging technologies: VET engineering institutions in Europe adapt to new

challenges and emerging technologies in the field of

engineering. This includes courses covering topics such as Industry 4.0, artificial intelligence,

robotics, sustainable energy and digitization of production processes.

VET educational curricula in Italy

The “non-university higher education” represents that part of the education system that allows

those in possession of a diploma (State or professional) to have access to a wide variety of

punctual and targeted training opportunities, having as their object the acquisition of skills ‘in

action’ proper to innovative professional figures that are generated and evolve continuously in

the fast dynamics of research applied to production and service processes located within the

global economy. This segment of the education system is clearly distinguished from the university

system (oriented towards liberal professions, managerial roles or figures typical of the public

administration).

The situation of engineering VET (Vocational Education and Training) institutions in Italy can be

described as follows:

✓ Istituti Tecnici Superiori (ITS) offer post-diploma higher technical education paths

✓ Istituti Professionali Tecnici (IPT) offer post-diploma higher technical education courses

✓ Vocational Training Centres (VET) may offer engineering-specific VET courses

If we look at the curricula, these include core subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry

and computer science, electronics and circuits, programming and computer science, and

technical design and drawing. In addition, specific courses are offered according to the chosen

area of specialization, which can cover different areas of engineering, such as mechanics,

electronics, computer science, electrical engineering, energy, construction, or industrial

automation.

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