The school systems includes infant school for children from the ages of 3 to 5 and is not compulsory.
• Primary school which lasts five years;
• Secondary school – first level, which lasts three years;
Second stage, which lasts 4 to 5 years and is divided in the following way:
• Secondary education
- Secondary school – second level, including "liceos" (high schools) and technical high schools
• Professional training
- Professional colleges (some of reduced length);
- Professional training centres
Both stages entail a State leaving examination.
In Italy, compulsory education is from 6 years to 15 years. The state provides compulsory education free of charge.
After the second stage of education, students can continue their studies at University.
The Universities in Sicily are:
- Catania University
- Messina University
- Palermo University
- Kore University, Enna
The University of Catania was founded in 1435 and is the oldest in Sicily. The University of Messina, founded in 1518, also has a long tradition of culture. Its Law School was founded at the end of the 13th Century. The University of Palermo dates back to more recent times. It was founded in 1806, although its Medical School and Law School were founded in 1498. Sicily’s most modern university, founded in 1995, is the University of Enna called Kore University. The University has modern buildings and strong international relations, in particular with governments and universities in the Mediterranean area.
The University system has adapted to EC regulations, and now offers a three-year degree and a second level or specialization degree.
Today, Sicilian Universities teach approx. 50,000 students and produce approx. 18,000 graduates each year.
The universities offer a wide range of subjects. The various faculties in each of the four universities cover all the disciplines – law, politics, economics, social studies, engineering, architecture, medicine and human movement sciences, psycho-sociology, science, and humanities. Over half of the degree courses are in the field of science and technology.
The demand for specialized labour skills is currently satisfied in Sicily thanks to the large number of young people with a high level of education, and also at a cost of labour is which is amongst the most competitive in the European Union.
The universities have recently set up a number of Liaison Offices between the business world
and university. These offices also help organize internships and training periods.
Higher education in Sicily also offers specialization courses of one year. From 2002 to 2005, an average of 8 first level and second level Masters courses was offered by each of the universities.
On a final note, there are numerous research laboratories, centres and consortiums connected to the university system, business and public institutions. These organizations carry out research in many of the island’s economic sectors in order to spread technological innovation.