Four academic cycles
The Italian school system is divided into four academic cycles*:
Lasts: 5 years - Age: 6-11
It promotes personality development and provides students with basic knowledge and skills.
Attendance: compulsory for all those above the age of 6.
Secondary School – 1st level (Middle School)
Lasts: 3 years – Age: 11-14
It provides the students with more and helps the students organize existing knowledge and skills. Its aim is to help students to become independent in studying and to better interact socially.
Attendance: compulsory for all those who have completed their primary school cycle.
It ends with a State Exam which allows the students who have passed it to go on to the following academic cycle.
Secondary School – 2nd level (High School)
Lasts: 3-5 years – Age: 14-19
This academic cycle features various courses of studies, differing both in topic and in length. It ends with a State Exam which provides the students with a legally-valid diploma.
University or Professional Training
Lasts: 3-5 years – Age: 19
This academic cycle features various university courses, as well as highly developed artistic, music, choral, and professional training courses.