The tasks of education and those of public education are entrusted to the Ministry of National Education which supervises all schools. The high schools, the artistic and the musical ones depend directly on it; the others, through the 19 royal supervisors for studies (one per region) assisted by a council, for middle and professional education, and by a school council, for elementary education. Each school supervisor, then, is divided, only as regards elementary schools, into circumscriptions governed by a school inspector. Furthermore, the minister has a corps of technical inspectors to supervise non-high schools, but for the middle and professional schools he also avails himself, as inspectors, of university professors or principals and professors of middle and professional schools. Next to these, 18 administrative inspectors are at the ministry. The National Higher Education Council (originally “of public education”) is a consultative college whose competence, originally limited to higher education, has now expanded to every grade and level of schools; it consists of 5 sections. Also relevant to the school system are the two commissions called to give an opinion, one on the appeals of elementary teachers, and the other on appeals and disciplinary procedures of managerial staff and teachers of middle and professional schools. it consists of 5 sections. Also relevant to the school system are the two commissions called to give an opinion, one on the appeals of elementary teachers, and the other on appeals and disciplinary procedures of managerial staff and teachers of middle and professional schools. it consists of 5 sections. Also relevant to the school system are the two commissions called to give an opinion, one on the appeals of elementary teachers, and the other on appeals and disciplinary procedures of managerial staff and teachers of middle and professional schools.
Having regard to their grade and the age of the pupils they welcome, schools should be divided into elementary, middle and high schools; but the professional ones (agricultural, commercial, nautical, industrial), the artistic ones, the musical ones are kept distinct from the mediums.
From the constitution of the Kingdom of Italy, the fundamental law of public education of all levels was the Casati law (promulgated on November 13, 1859) until 1923 when the Italian school was reorganized by Minister G. Gentile, whose provisions constitute what was called the most fascist of reforms; which, moreover, only indirectly affected the professional schools which at that time did not depend on the Ministry of Education. Hence those discrepancies in the general order that the post-1928 legislation has not yet completely eliminated.
The Italian schools can be said to be all either of the state or of public bodies; private individuals are a small minority, which the reform of 1923 tried to encourage through the new system of examinations (so-called state exams) and the adoption of the numerus clausus in admission to the royal middle schools. This principle was abandoned in 1932, but the state exam has always remained in force and has indeed been extended to certain professional schools. It has these characteristics: 1. it is given on a program which is not the teaching one as this is formed by the teacher according to his criterion; 2. it is given before a commission composed, almost entirely, of state professors who are not the professors of the class from which the candidate comes; 3. the examiners are drawn, in part, from that higher school grade to which the candidate aspires: therefore no longer the license exam, but the admission exam (to the 1st class of lower middle school, to the 4th secondary school class, to the 1st of the upper course of a technical or master’s school; to the 1st class of scientific or classical high school) and high school exam (classical or scientific or artistic for those who intend to pursue higher studies) or qualification (technical or master’s for those who intend to devote themselves immediately to a profession: accountant, surveyor , of teacher). Moreover, even the qualification exams open the way for some of the higher studies. The expenditure on education is fully supported by the state for elementary and middle schools; for some high schools by the state, for others by the state in collaboration with local authorities; for the professional ones from consortiums of local authorities, but the contribution by far is the state one. Only elementary school is free for the pupil; the vocational training secondary school pupil is obliged to pay an annual contribution of L. 25, all other students are subject to matriculation, annual enrollment, exam and diploma fees which vary according to the grade and type of school; but needy and deserving pupils can obtain either partial or total exemption. For assistance to middle and vocational school pupils, see cashier: School cashier. Special provisions apply to university students; for foreigners, taxes are reduced by half.
In recent years, physical education of students has had a modern system, a wide range of means and a notable development thanks to the National Opera Balilla (v.) To which it has been entrusted from 1927-28.
Religious education, already given in elementary schools from 1923-24, was introduced as compulsory (for all pupils whose parents do not ask for dispensation) also in middle, professional and artistic schools with the law of 5 June 1930, n. 824, in execution of the art. 36 of the Concordat of 11 February 1929. Teaching is entrusted by appointment to a person (a priest and only in a subsidiary way a lay person recognized as suitable) chosen by the head of the institute, meaning the diocesan ordinary. The choice of the textbook must be made from among those approved by the diocesan ordinaries after revision by the Sacred Congregation of the Council. There are no grades or exams in this matter.
Masters and professors, even those of university degree, are bound to their duty by an oath of allegiance to the regime.