Compulsory Education Age
6–16 (Compulsory for all children who have turned 6 before December 31)
Home education is legal but not widely known in Italy. Despite the fact that there exists a fairly clear legislation on this subject, schools—which hardly ever have to deal with homeschooling—tend to judge this choice negatively and don’t support the students. The Italian Constitution states in Articles 30 and 33 that parents have the duty and right to support, instruct, and educate their children. The Legislative Decree of April 16, 1994 regarding public education (DL 16/4/94 no. 297), Articles 111, 147, and 148, as well as the updated Legislative Decree of February 19, 2004 on primary education (DL 19/2/04 no. 59), recognize instruction in the home by families.
Article 111, paragraphs 1 and 2, of the 1994 Act state that home education is subject to the following constraints:
- Parents must annually notify the appropriate school authorities (dirigenti scolastici) of their intent to homeschool.
- Parents or guardians must demonstrate that they have the “technical” or “economic” capacity to teach their children at home.
“Technical capacity” means that the parent has completed a level of schooling beyond that of the children they are currently teaching. In case parents undergo further investigation, they can also list the names and the qualification of other people, external to the family, who will help in educating their children.
“Economic capacity” simply refers to financial means. Most homeschool families self-substantiate that they meet these criteria. Neither of these statements must be justified by legal papers (tax declaration, school diplomas, etc.) and there is no guideline or specification.
On May 16, 2017, the Italian Parliament approved a Decree-law n.62, art.23 (School Reform called “Buona Scuola”) stating that the fulfillment of the duty of education by the parents must be proved through annual school exams. Up until that day regimentation protected the freedom of teaching, and families that chose homeschooling simply had to notify the school officials on a yearly basis. Examination used to take place only when the child wanted to return to school or when the parents wanted to legitimate their child’s educational path. The families will now have to produce a personal curriculum (in Italian) and a written request for the exam. This paperwork needs to be presented to the school for approval in the months of March and April. Once all is approved, the school will inform the family about the exam procedures and dates. These exams usually takes place in the month of June.
Italian National Network
For further information, join the Italian National Network at www.edupar.org (the staff speaks English), or contact Erika Di Martino at https://www.controscuola.it/english/