Policy Document

Gelmini’s Reform'








Compulsory Schooling

Main implications

Gelmini’s Reform' reorganises the Italian educational system. For primary schools, it introduces the sole teacher and changes evaluation criteria. The latter are also modified for lower secondary schools, in addition to a reduction in the number of hours per week. In high schools, it radically reduces the number of weekly hours in technical and professional training schools. It also reduces the more than 1,000 possible courses to 20. It extends compulsory English language instruction to all schools and years. Further, the compulsory education and training required for teachers are modified by Law 249/2010; the legislation requires teachers to have a university degree in the educational sciences and to attend a compulsory training period. This, in turn, gives them access to the public ranking selections of schools.

Benefits & Requirements

Coverage: Eligible groups or beneficiaries


Age range

6 - 16

Duration (numbers of years of compulsory education stipulated by this document)


ISCED levels included in compulsory education

1, 2, 3

Dedication (number of hours per week stipulated by this document)

ISCED 1: 24, 27, or 30 hours per week, depending on the assigned staff; schools may opt for a full-time teaching regime of 40 hours per week. ISCED 2: 990 hours per year (29 hours per week plus 33 hours devoted to in-depth analysis of literature). Weekly number of hours is extended to 36 (which may be further increased to 40) in schools opting for a full-time regime, including lunch break. ISCED 3: it depends on the field chosen (approximately 30 hours per week).

Is educational tracking implemented or modified by this document?


Education and training required for a compulsory school teacher stipulated by this document

ISCED 1: teachers must have at least a secondary school diploma in pedagogy (or related fields), awarded before the 2001-2002 academic year, or for those who obtained a diploma later, a university degree in educational science, which includes a training internship. ISCED 2: teachers must have at least a university degree in educational science. Since 2010, teachers must also attend “Active training internships” (TFA) with free enrolment (law no. 249/2010). ISCED 3: teachers must have at least a university degree in educational science or, depending on the field, specific bachelors’ degrees. Since 2010, teachers must also attend “Active training internships” (TFA) with limited enrolment (law no. 249/2010).

Is the compulsory education of children of undocumented migrants granted by this document?


Read the Law

Full Text Source in English

Presidential Decree no. 89 (20th March 2009)

Original full text source in native language

D.P.R. no. 89 (20 Marzo 2009)

Original full text web source in native language


Comments & Clarifications

A set of laws reforming the educational system was implemented during the 16th Legislative Session of the Italian Republic (May 2008-November 2011). The global reform of education was therefore commonly called the 'Gelmini Reform', referring to the Italian Minister of Education, University, and Research Mariastella Gelmini. The reform modified the educational system from pre-primary school (the attendance of which is non-compulsory) to university. However, education in Italy is compulsory until age 16. First applied in the 2009/10 academic year (2010/11 for ISCED level 3), the laws will be fully implemented in the 2014/15 academic year. Regarding tracking, free access (to all high school graduates, regardless of their specialisation) to universities was guaranteed in 1969 (Law 910). Before that law, only students with a high school diploma focused on the humanities ('liceo classico') could enrol in tertiary education. Additionally, each school could effectively implement its own training path autonomously.

Secondary Literature & Sources

Secondary literature

- European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters. "Maintenance claims - Italy" (2006). Available at: http://www.ec.europa.eu/civiljustice/maintenance_claim/maintenance_claim_ita_en.htm
- European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters. "Divorce - General Information" (2004). Available at: http://www.ec.europa.eu/civiljustice/divorce/divorce_gen_en.htm (English-EU Civil Justice on divorce)
- Council of Europe. "The Council of Europe Family Policy Database". Available at: http://www.coe.int/familypolicy/database

Links to databases and sources for the analysis or evaluation of this policy field



Giulia Ferrari
Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policy

Data collected in the framework of the Population Europe Research Finder and Archive (PERFAR)

Cite as

SPLASH-db.eu (2014): Policy: "Gelmini’s Reform'" (Information provided by Giulia Ferrari). Available at: https://splash-db.eu [Date of access].