The Guidelines for guidance
In December 2022, the Ministry approved the guidelines for students' guidance (Linee guida per l'orientamento), which aim at strengthening the connection between lower and upper secondary education, tackle early school leaving and promote access to tertiary education. The main new features of the Guidelines are:
- From the 2023/2024 school year, 30 hours of guidance are introduced in lower and upper secondary schools, organised in modules and managed autonomously by the school. Each orientation module involves personalised learning that is recorded in the student's digital portfolio (E-Portfolio).
- Each school identifies tutor teachers to help students review the key parts of each personal E-Portfolio and to help families in their choice of educational paths and/or career prospects.
- In the coming years, guidance will be a strategic priority of the initial training and CPD of teachers of all grades and in the induction year, and specific training initiatives will be planned for tutor teachers.
- On an experimental basis, 'training campuses' will be set up to offer a complete overview of all secondary study paths.
- Students and families will be able to make use of a digital platform that provides information and data on upper secondary education, on tertiary education and data useful for the transition into the world of work.
Finally, a specific reference figure is envisaged in the school who, together with families and students, will facilitate the choice between continuing their studies or entering the world of work, while at the same time facilitating the match between students' skills and the demand for work.
The reform of initial training and enrolment of teachers of the secondary level of education
On 29 June 2022 the Parliament approved the reform of the initial training of secondary school teachers, within the law that establishes the use of the financial resources coming from the New Generation EU Plan (law 79/2022).
Initial training and qualification
Law 79 establishes a new process of initial training, qualification, and access – selection and induction - to the profession of teacher in secondary schools. In particular, the new procedure is organised as follows:
- Future teachers will attend a qualifying university programme, corresponding to at least 60 ECTS
- National competitions will be held every year
- The induction period of one year will end with a final test and assessment
The qualifying university programme can be either concurrent or consecutive to the acquisition of a second-cycle qualification necessary to teach. The qualifying programme includes a traineeship at school and a final test with a mock lesson aimed at verifying the teaching skills and the subject-related knowledge. These courses will be organised by universities.
Qualified teachers will have access to national competitions held every year and those who pass the competition will be hired for an induction period of one year. At the end of the induction phase a final assessment will verify teaching competences acquired by the teachers and in case of positive assessment, he/she will have a permanent contract.
Continuing professional development (CPD)
Law 79 confirms that CPD is mandatory for all teachers. It will be conducted during the working hours and will cover also digital competences and the critical and responsible use of digital devises.
In addition to compulsory CPD, teachers will have the opportunity to acquire competences useful for practicing innovative methods of teaching, under a professional development system scheduled every three years. Training will be carried out voluntarily for teachers already working with a permanent contract and will be mandatory for newly hired teachers. CPD activities will be conducted outside the working hours and it teachers may receive an economic compensation upon assessment. The newly established High-level training school (Scuola di alta formazione) is committed with the definition of this training system, with providing guidelines as well as of the accreditation and monitoring of structures providing courses.
Law 79/2022 entered into force on 30 June 2022.
Source: Ministry of education
Final State examinations – specific measures for the school year 2021/2022
On 31 January 2022, the Ministry of education has released the draft documents that establish the organisation of the State exams held at the end of lower and upper secondary education.
Specific measures have been taken to meet the difficulties students have experienced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lower secondary education: students will take two, instead of two, written tests and one interview. The two written tests verify the competences in Italian and in mathematics, while the interview verifies the competences in all the curricular subjects. Tests are drawn up by the examination board of the school.
The participation in the national standardised tests is not a requirement for the admission to the exam.
Upper secondary education: students will take two, instead of three, written tests and one interview. The first written test verifies the competences in Italian, and it is drawn up at central level. The second written test verifies the competences in a curricular subject typical of the different branches of each type of upper secondary school and it is prepared by the examination boards of the schools. The interview verifies the competences in all the curricular subjects.
The participation in the national standardised tests and in the compulsory traineeship activities is not a requirement for the admission to the exam.
The Ministry of education published the final text of the Ordinances on 14 March 2022.
Measures to start school activities for the school and academic year 2021/2022
On 6 August 2021, the Government has approved the Law-Decree no. 111, which contains the urgent measures to be taken to contrast the Covid-19 pandemic for the school and academic year 2021/2022.
The Decree will be discussed in Parliament and must be approved by 9 October, otherwise its effects, already in force since 7 August, will cease. In case of approval by law, the measures will apply until the end of the Covid- 19 emergency, set at 31 December 2021.
On 10 September the Government has approved the Law-Decree no. 122 that widens the measures of the previous decree.
The measures apply to all institutions of the State and Regional education and training systems.
As for ECEC and school settings, the Decrees establish that:
- distance learning activities will not be carried out unless otherwise decided at regional or municipal level exclusively for institutions located in the red or orange areas of risk according to the criteria established at national level;
- at all school levels, staff and students, with the exception of children under the age of 6 and those who are exempt from it for certified reasons, must wear a mask;
- all must be at least 1 meter away and access to those with a body temperature above 37.5 ° C is not allowed;
- teaching and non-teaching staff must have and show the green certification known as 'Green pass', that is the document that certifies either the vaccination against SARS-CoV-2, or the recovery from the infection or the negative response to a swab test;
- the dispositions on the green pass apply to all people who access premises as external visitors, including parents.
The Green pass is not mandatory for those who are exempted from the vaccination campaign for certified reasons.
The Plan for keeping schools open during the summer
In April 2021, the Minister of Education announced a Plan called Piano scuola estate to keep schools open during the summer. The aim of the Plan is to provide schools with ad hoc financial resources to carry out extra-curricular activities that can help students to strengthen their competences, to regain the connection with the school and their peers lost during the last school year due to the pandemic and to accompany them to the next school year.
The total amount of financial resources is 510 million euros coming from national and European funds and that are allocated to schools through the submission of proposals. Activities involve the teachers and the administrative staff of the schools as well as external experts. Pupils and students participate on a voluntary basis.
The Plan is organised in three phases:
Phase I (June) aims at strengthening pupils and students' subject-related and social competences through collaborative study, outdoor activities, laboratories and other activities that can involve external subjects.
Phase II (July-August) has the purpose of making pupils and students regain their social dimension, through activities linked to music, arts, sports, computing, sustainability and environment, creative writing, etc. This phase also can involve external spaces like theatres, cinemas, museum, libraries, parks and sport centres.
Phase III (September) introduces students to the new school year and, besides all the previous activities, includes guidance, psychological support, activities for inclusion.
The Ministry has activated a website dedicated to the Plan where schools, families and students can find all information they need to carry out the activities.
State leaving examinations
On the 4th of March 2021, the Minister of education has signed the two Ordinances that define the organisation of the final State exams held at the end of lower and upper secondary education. In 2021, as in 2020, the organisation of the exams has been defined taking into consideration the challenges schools and students had to face due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Ministry has also provided schools with an assessment grid. The Ordinance and all the relevant documents are available on the Ministry's website.
Both exams will consist of an oral interview with a commission.
Lower secondary education: within the first week of May, the class teachers will assign a topic to each student taking into account his/her areas of interest and, on that topic, the student will produce an original work within one month. Teachers suggest each student the most suitable type of work, which can be a written report, as well as a multimedia, artistic or technical product and can cover more than one subject. Students will have the support of their class teachers for the production of their works. The interview aims at verifying the student's command in the Italian and in the foreign languages, the logic-mathematic competences, the competences in civic education.
Upper secondary education: at the end of April the class teachers will assign a topic to each student taking into consideration the previous student's study course and the two subjects specific for each path indicated by the Ministry of education (e.g. maths and physics at scientific general schools or Latin and Greek language and literature at humanistic general schools). Students have one month to produce their work that can have different forms according also to the type of school attended. The interview aims at making students demonstrate the acquisition of knowledge and competences in each subject and their ability to use them to argue in a critical and personal way, also using the foreign language. To this end, the interview will start from the discussion of the student's original work on the topic assigned by teachers and will then develop through the analysis of a text of Italian literature and of other types of documents chosen by the commission that will also assess the competences acquired through the compulsory traineeship activities and the study of civic education. The interview will last approx. 60 minutes.
Assessment in primary school
On the 4th of December 2020, the Ministry of education has published the Ordinance no. 172 and the Guidelines on the assessment of pupils in primary education, as foreseen by the Decree Law no. 22 of April 8, 2020 that foresaw the replacement, from school year 2020/2021, of numerical marks with descriptive judgements.
According to the Ordinance and the Guidelines, for each subject the teacher evaluates the achievement of the learning objectives on the basis of four levels: Advanced, Intermediate, Basic, In the process of first acquisition. Each level must correspond to a detailed definition drawn up by each school. Schools have autonomy in drawing up the definition, however, the Ordinance and Guidelines establish that definitions should refer to at least four ‘dimensions’: the pupil’s level of autonomy in reaching the learning goals; the type of situation, known or unknown, where the pupil has carried out his/her task; the resources used to complete the task; the continuity in the pupil’s learning process. In the evaluation document, teachers can link the level reached to the formal description drawn up by the school or, instead, to a personalised descriptive judgement, which must always refer to the four dimensions. The Ordinance and Guidelines provide operational guidance to schools and examples of descriptive judgements. The Ministry has also organised training initiatives addressed to all school heads and teachers of primary schools.
The school decree
During Covid-19 emergency, a decree called "School Decree" (Decree Law no. 22 of April 8, 2020), subsequently converted into law on June 6, 2020, was approved in order to allow for the regular conclusion of the current school year. It regulates the final State exams of lower and upper secondary of education, the final assessment of pupils, the conclusion of school year 2019/2020 and the start of 2020/2021, the extraordinary competitive procedures for of lower and upper secondary school teachers.
Summary of the measures
State examinations and final evaluation of pupils
The decree provides the regulatory framework for the final State examinations of lower and upper secondary education and for the final assessment of pupils for the school year 2019/2020. Schools operate on the basis of Orders issued by the Ministry (Ministerial Order nr. 9 of 16 May 2020 – Ministerial Order. Nr. 10 of 16 May 2020 – Ministerial Order nr. 11 of 16 May 2020) The final evaluation will take place on the basis of what has actually been done during the year, in presence and at a distance.
Pupils may be admitted to the next grade even with a mark lower than 6/10 (normally, a pass is considered a mark of 6/10 or higher), in one or more subjects. For pupils with marks lower than 6/10, or with learning outcomes not fully achieved, their teachers will prepare an individualised recovery plan that will begin in September and may continue, if necessary, throughout the school year 2020/2021. Non-admission to the following grade is only foreseen in very specific cases.
The first-cycle leaving State examination coincides with the final evaluation by the Class Council. It will also take into account a paper produced by the student on a topic agreed with the teachers. The delivery and discussion of the paper will take place online. The final evaluation will take into account the entire student course. It will be possible to conclude the course of study with honours. All examination procedures must be completed by June 30.
The second-cycle leaving State examination will start on June 17. It will include only an oral test in presence (unless epidemiological conditions allow it and with specific derogations for particular cases) before a committee composed of six internal members and an external President. Credits and final grade will be based on the course actually taken by students. Honours will be awarded.
Students with disabilities
The school heads, on the basis of motivated requests from the families of pupils with disabilities, taking into account the peculiarity of this school year, upon opinion of the Class councils and the Working group for the inclusion of their school, may allow the re-enrolment of the pupil in the same grade of the course attended in school year 2019/2020. This will make up for the failure to achieve educational objectives set out in the Individualised education plan.
Assessment in primary school
From school year 2020-21, descriptive judgements will be reintroduced in primary school instead of numerical marks out of ten (from 0 to 10). An Ordinance of the Ministry of education will provide operational guidance to schools.
Substitute teachers: rankings become provincial and digital
The rankings of substitute teachers will be updated, will become digital and will be prepared by Province and not by educational institute. This new model will speed up the process. The submission of applications will be computerised to reduce time and increase efficiency for the benefit of teachers and students.
Qualifying paths to become a teacher
A forum will be set up, chaired by the Minister, to periodically start qualifying paths and to provide clarifications on this issue. This will allow young recent graduates to have an adequate training path to access teaching.
The measure allows, until 31 December 2020, Mayors and Presidents of the Provinces and Metropolitan cities to operate with commissioning powers. Local authorities will therefore have the possibility to guarantee rapid interventions to be carried out in time for the beginning of the next school year.
Two new Ministries replace the Ministry of education, university and research
On 9 January 2020, the Government has issued the Decree n. 1 establishing that the Ministry of education and the Ministry of University and Research will replace the former Ministry of education, university and research (Ministero dell’istruzione, dell’università e della ricerca – MIUR).
The Decree is provisionally in force since the 10th of January; however, the Parliament has to approve the text within 60 days in order to make it permanent and transform it into a State law. The final approval of the text is expected by mid-March. The Decree details the functions of the two ministries: the Ministry of education has competences for the ECEC and school/vocational sectors, as well as for the higher technical education. The Ministry of university and research has competences for the higher education area and coordinates the research sector.
The organisation of the new ministries will be detailed in specific regulations. Up to then, the previous departments and offices will remain active.