1. Production of textbooks
The textbooks are produced by commercial bodies.[1]

2. Admission
Textbooks are not prescribed or approved by the state.[2] Textbooks are freely produced by the publisher and teacher are free to choose among them (see 4). The state only controls the technical features of the textbooks for the elementary school (paper quality, fonts, number of pages, price.
The state merely issues guidance in cost and frequency of updates. Schools have teaching and educational autonomy for shaping the local curricula within the limits of the Indicazioni nazionali (national guidelines) and the regulations issued by Central Government. The Teachers' Assembly is composed of all the permanent and temporary teachers of each primary school group or individual primary or secondary school, and is chaired by the principal or headteacher. It formulates teaching and educational plans for each school year, taking into account specific local requirements, national guidelines and state legislation, and decides on types of interdisciplinary coordination while respecting the freedom of teaching of each teacher. It periodically evaluates teaching to check that it conforms to the planned objectives and proposes improvements when necessary.[3]

3. Financing: Are textbooks free of charge?
The State is responsible for school funding both for educational and administrative purposes. Regions have to provide directly, but more often under delegated power, services and assistance to students (canteens, transportation, textbooks for primary schools, aid to the less wealthy, social and health assistance) out of their own budget and they also have to finance plans for the building of schools.[4] The Municipalities provide free textbooks to all pupils (in primary education).[5] Pupils pay for the textbooks in secondary education (grades 2-13). In secondary education low in income families may obtain financial aids. Financial aids provided by the Regions responsible for the right to study are more conspicuous. These measures may be implemented directly by the Regions, or through the provinces or the communes; they may change from one Region to the other. This generally includes financial contributions to purchase textbooks.[6] The financial law of 1999 established that ‘the communes grant total or partial free provision of textbooks for pupils in compulsory education who meet the requirements’ (partly free textbooks can be provided according to specific regional situations and within certain income limits).[7] It provided, furthermore, for establishing criteria to fix yearly the total maximum cost of textbooks; teachers should choose the textbooks within this total price limit. In secondary education (including upper and lower) some textbooks are very expensive, as is the case for dictionaries and atlases. In account of this the Ministry of public education sends out annual circular letters on textbooks adoption pointing out “the binding need to pay the greatest attention to the expense reduction for the families”.[8] Financial law of 2007 has then established what follows: ‘partially free provision of textbooks, according to Law of 23 December 1998, no. 448, is also extended to students of the first and second grade of upper secondary education. Criteria for establishing the maximum total price of textbooks should be defined for students attending the following grades. Schools and parents associations can lend textbooks to students or their parents’.[9]
Every year, the Government takes steps to reduce the financial burden on families by issuing a circular which:
• recommends that, given the same educational value, less expensive books should be chosen;
• forbids any change in textbooks during the course for which they are adopted; and
• allows students to use earlier editions of dictionaries, atlases and textbooks. [10]

4. Selection of textbooks: Who chooses the textbooks for classes?
The textbooks are selected by a teachers assembly in consulting with the Class Councils („Consiglio di interclasse“ and „Consiglio di classe“). [11]
• Teachers assembly (“Collegio dei docenti”): Assemblies at school level, made up of all teachers working in the school, with decisional powers on the didactical issues related to the single school activities.
• „Consiglio di interclasse“: At primary school level, this is the assembly made up of the teachers of groups of classes either at the same level or at the same school, of representatives of parents and of the schoolhead. As for the competences, please see Consiglio di classe.
• “Consiglio di classe“: At undersecondary school level, the assembly made up of all class teachers, representatives of parents, the schoolhead with the addition, at upper secondary level, of the representatives of students. It makes proposals to the assembly of teachers on the educational and didactic activities of the school and on experimentations. It is also assigned the task of programming the educational and didactic activity, experimental activities and evaluating each individual class (for this tasks it is only made up of teachers).[12]
Sample textbooks are generally received by the Interclass Council for examination prior to any decision being made. In order to keep teachers informed of the most recent publications available, headteachers often organise meetings between teachers and representatives of publishers, and books are often offered to schools on a trial basis.[13] Regulations on school autonomy establish that “the choice, adoption and use of teaching methods and instruments, including text books, are consistent with the Piano dell'offerta formativa […] and they are carried out according to transparency and timeliness criteria. They foster the introduction and use of teaching technologies”( Legislation: DPR 8 March 1999, no. 275).[14] In primary education the choice of textbooks is left to the individual teacher.[15]
The costs of selected teaching materials, including the textbooks, need to be within financial limits laid down by the Consiglio di circolo.


[1] International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive, (14.05.08).
[2] Ibidem.
[3], S.4. (17.04.08).
[4], Section 2.8. (14.04.08).
[5], S.47. (14.04.08).
[6], S.68. (14.04.08).
[7] Ibidem.
[8] Ibidem.
[9], S.68f. (17.04.08).
[10] International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive, (15.05.08).
[11], S.4f. (17.04.08).
[12], Section (14.04.08).
[13] International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive, (14.05.08).
[14], S.51. (14.04.08).
[15], S.10. (14.04.08)., (22.05.08).