Access to education


Country Report: Access to education Last updated: 03/06/21


According to the law, minors present in Italy have the right to education regardless of their legal status. They are subject to compulsory education and they are enrolled in Italian schools under the conditions provided for Italian minors. The enrolment can be requested at any time of the school year.[1]

The law distinguishes between minors under the age of 16 and over 16.

  • Minors under 16 are subject to compulsory education and they are enrolled in a grade corresponding to their actual age. Taking into account the curriculum followed by the pupil in the country of origin and his or her skills, the Teachers’ Board can decide otherwise, providing the assignment to the class immediately below or above the one corresponding to the minor’s age.[2]
  • Minors over 16 and no longer subject to compulsory education are enrolled if they prove proper self-preparation on the entire prescribed programme for the class they wish to follow.[3]

Current legislation does not allow the establishment of special classes for foreign students and the Circular of the Ministry of Education of 8 January 2010 maintains that the number of non-nationals in school classes should be limited to 30%.

Schools are not obliged to provide specific language support for non-national students but, according to the law, the Teachers’ Board defines, in relation to the level of competence of foreign students, the necessary adaptation of curricula and can adopt specific individualised or group interventions to facilitate learning of the Italian language.

As underlined by the Ministry of Education in guidelines issued on February 2014, special attention should be paid to Italian language labs. The Ministry observes that an effective intervention should provide about 8-10 hours per week dedicated to Italian language labs (about 2 hours per day) for a duration of 3-4 months.[4]

The Qualification Decree also specifies that minors holding refugee status or subsidiary protection status have access to education of all levels, under the same procedures provided for Italian citizens,[5] while adult beneficiaries have the right of access to education under the conditions provided for the other third-country nationals.

International protection beneficiaries can require the recognition of the equivalence of the education qualifications.


[1] Article 38 TUI; Article 45 PD 394/1999.

[2]  Article 45(2) PD 394/1999.

[3] Article 192(3) LD 297/1994.

[4]For more information, see ASGI, Minori stranieri e diritto all’istruzione e alla formazione professionale. Sintesi della normativa vigente e delle indicazioni ministeriali, ASGI, March 2014, available at

[5]  Article 26 Qualification Decree.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation