Masterplan for integrated system of education, training, research and technologies in Italy
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Issue Italy has a deficit of qualification widely recognised, that generates a deep deficit in competitiveness. Such deficits in qualification can be represented as followed: highest level of drop-outs at compulsory level, lowest educational rate among developed countries, and very weak system of non-university post-secondary training. Moreover, we still have one of the highest rate of unemployment among the European Countries. One of the possible explanation of these data is the big gap existing between education and the labor market.
    In the last years Italy has promoted some important reforms in the educational system:
# Recently, through the Law n. 59/97, 112/98 and 275/99, schools are given more and more autonomy, concerning both the economic and the curricula aspects.
# Compulsory education has been increased of one year (a total of 9 years). This is a first step in a process which aims to extend training up to 13 years of duration.
# The upper secondary leaving examination has been modified. This measure has been introduced in the new social pact signed in December 1998 as a measure to promote growth and employment. Through this reform the idea of training itself is going to change. In fact it should not be considered anymore as a quite narrow period in the life of the individual, but as a life-long process of growth and improvement of the person from a global point of view. (C.P. 29/10/99) 
Measure The main objectives of the new proposal for a national reform (the Masterplan), signed in July 1999 by the Italian government and the social partners, are the following:
1. Integration between the training supply and the labour market.
2. The inclusion of disadvantaged people in the educational and training process.
3. The qualification of the educational and training systems, to guarantee adequate standard of all the different structures working in this field.
4. The modernization of the educational and training infrastructures to achieve those goals of integration and quality.
5. The promotion of research activities and of technological development and integration.
    The most important features of the Masterplan are set out below:
# Agreement between government and social partners (network structure).
# Involvement of institutional and non-institutional structures connected with training and education at all levels, from national to local ones.
# Break-down structures of work: subdivision of the different actions in specific activities, very well defined, checked periodically through information technologies.
# Identification of economic resources necessary to put the reform into action. 
# Identification of responsibilities at all levels. (C.P. 29/10/99) 
Impact The expected impact of the Masterplan is obviously extremely high, since it has been designed as a measure to reduce unemployment and to increase the educational rates of Italy. It should be noted that both these aspects are below the standards of other European countries. (C.P. 29/10/99)   
Reference Information on the Masterplan is available in English as a summary (prepared by Claudia Pasti). Data regarding the Italian economic and social situation are provided in the “1998 report Synthesis” on the ISTAT web site
The Italian legislation concerning employment and training/education can be viewed online in Italian. An overview of the Italian education system, in particular referring to continuing education and training: towards a cognitive-based approach, is given in the national case study of 1999. (C.P. 29/10/99) 
Author Claudia Pasti  

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