The Italian public administration has a decentralised organisation. Regions and local authorities (metropolitan areas, provinces and municipalities) carry out all the administrative tasks that are not expressly assigned to the State. The State and the Regions work in collaboration through a collegiate body called the State/Regions Conference (Conferenza Stato/Regioni).
As for the education and training field, the State and the Regions have exclusive legislative competences in some sectors, while in other sectors they share responsibilities.
The State has exclusive legislative competences on the general organisation of the education system: minimum standards of education, fundamental principles, school staff, quality assurance, State financial resources, foreign schools and cultural institutions in Italy.
The Regions, through their relevant offices, define the school network within their own territories, fix the school calendar and contribute to non-State schools. Moreover, Regions have exclusive legislative power on the organisation of the regional vocational education and training system (Sistema di istruzione e formazione professionale – IFP).
Local authorities are responsible for the establishment, aggregation, merging and the closing down of schools, the interruption of teaching for serious and urgent reasons, the setting up, control and dissolution of school collegiate bodies.
Schools have administrative and managing autonomy. Within the general frame on school autonomy set at national level (DPR 275/1999), schools define the curricula, widen the educational offer, organise teaching (school time, groups of pupils, etc.). Schools can be either State schools or non-State schools. These latter can be run by either private or public subjects. Upon certain conditions, non-State schools can be recognised the same status of State schools (paritarie).
At tertiary level, universities and institutes of Higher education for the fine arts, music and dance (Alta formazione artistica, musicale e coreutica - Afam) have statutory, regulatory, teaching and organisational autonomy (DM 509/1999, law 508/1999 and law 240/2010). Universities and Afam institutes can be either State-run or privately-run institutions.
The education system includes pre-primary, primary, secondary (lower and upper), post-secondary and tertiary education. Compulsory education lasts 10 years and covers from primary up to the second year of upper secondary education, from 6 to 16 years of age. The last two years of compulsory education can also be spent attending the courses offered by the regional education and training systems (IFP).