Upper secondary or upper secondary education (since it is higher than secondary school, which is lower secondary school) is not yet part of compulsory schooling (a draft law for the extension of compulsory education is currently under discussion in Parliament up to sixteenth year of age). It lasts for the most part five years (classical high school, scientific high school, technical institutes), but there are courses lasting four years (teaching institute, artistic high school, some types of professional institute) and three years (art institute, other types of professional Institute). For the latter, the law provides for the possibility of instituting courses subsequent to the normal three-year courses, which allow them to achieve five-year upper secondary school level training. The choice between the aforementioned educational courses is free, since the advice given for guidance at the end of the middle school course is not binding. At the end of the upper secondary studies, the state of maturity exam is taken in a single session, which varies for the different addresses. According to the l. 11 December 1969 n. 910, the attainment of the maturity gives the right to enroll in any university faculty: immediately, for those who have completed five-year courses; after another year of supplementary course for those who have followed four-year upper secondary education courses. The five-year technical, master’s or professional high school diploma also qualifies for the exercise of the corresponding profession.
In the context of upper secondary school, high school education is represented by classical gymnasiums, scientific high schools, artistic high schools and linguistic high schools. The classical high school retains the marked humanistic imprint given to it by tradition and still has, in substance, the order assumed with the reform of G. Gentile. The first two classes of the course retain the name (residual of the previous system) of fourth and fifth gymnasium, the following three classes constitute the high school; the passage from the gymnasium to the actual high school takes place by ballot. The scientific high school, which combines the humanistic preparation, including Latin, with a more marked scientific preparation than the classic, also reflects the order conferred on it by Minister Gentile. At the end of the two high school courses, the classical high school or scientific high school diploma is obtained. The artistic high school retains the original four-year course structure, divided, after the first common two-year period, into two distinct sections; with the final state exam, the artistic high school diploma is obtained. The linguistic high school it is a relatively recent institution, born on a private initiative and spread in Italy from the mid-1960s. To ensure unity of address on the subject, the ministerial decree of 31 July 1973 defined a study plan organized over a two-year period (with the teaching of Italian, Latin, history, art history, mathematics, physics, first and second language foreign language) and in a three-year period (with the aforementioned teachings, except Latin, and in addition with the teachings of philosophy, psychology and sociology, natural sciences and general and economic geography, as well as an optional subject which can also be the third foreign language). At the end, the language license is obtained. The teaching institute, despite repeated attempts at reform, it still has the structure of a four-year course, at the end of which the qualification diploma for elementary teaching is issued (for this purpose, recent legal provisions require the attendance of a specific degree course). His study plan includes the following subjects: philosophy, pedagogy and psychology; Italian; Latin; history; foreign language; math and physics; natural sciences, chemistry, geography; drawing and art history; choral singing; physical education. There is, however, a large experimentation of five-year pedagogical directions.
Technical education, which affects over 40% of the school population of this age group, takes place in the technical institute, with a five-year structure, with multiple addresses, characterized by a substantially homogeneous two-year period and a three-year period of specialization. The technical institutes are divided into the following types: aeronautical, agricultural, commercial, female, for surveyors, industrial, nautical, for business experts, for tourism. Some of these, and above all the industrial and commercial technical institutes, have many specialized courses within them. The timetables and teaching programs of various addresses have been gradually updated. In addition, in the last fifteen years, a series of “special projects” have been defined by the Ministry of Education in order to combine similar specializations and update the curricula, also in relation to the technological needs.
Vocational education in the proper sense now takes place exclusively in state vocational institutes, which are of the following types: for agriculture, for industry and crafts, for commerce, for women (in the process of being absorbed), for hospitality, for seafaring activities. Within each type there are various specializations. The courses usually last three years (some, however, are biennial and others four years). The courses, called qualification sections, are accessed with a middle school license. At the end of the course, passed appropriate exam, is awarded a title of study called qualification. Vocational education lacks a framework law that establishes its general discipline; this allowed a certain organizational and didactic flexibility in relation to the local needs of production activities. Nonetheless, time frames and guidance programs are defined by the Ministry of Education. For young people who intend to continue their studies up to professional maturity, the l. 27 October 1969 n. 754 provides for the establishment of post-qualification courses (lasting, depending on the case, two-year, three-year or annual), to which the graduates of the qualification section of the corresponding address are admitted. Professional From education to be distinguished, though mostly parallel to it, the vocational training, of regional competence, governed by a specific framework law of 1978 (see professional, training, in this Appendix): it involves the issue not of educational qualifications, but only of certificates on the basis of which the employment offices assign the qualifications valid for work start-up and company management. In some respects, on the other hand, the art institute is similar to the state professional institute(there are some for decoration, for inlay, for ceramics, for cabinet making, for coral engraving, etc.). The courses of the art institute last three years and end with a license exam. Also in this case, two-year courses are envisaged that extend the duration of the studies to five years, allowing those attending the admission to the maturity exams of applied art.