Italy - Education

Italy’s funding for global education is increasing but remains low as a percentage of total ODA

Italy spent US$323 million on global education in 2019 according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), making it the eighthlargest OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor country to education in absolute terms. Italy’s overall funding to education increased by 43% in absolute terms between 2015 and 2019. ODA to education accounted for 7% of Italy’s total official development assistance (ODA) in 2019 (compared with only 4% in 2017) but is still well below the DAC average of 10%.

In 2019, Italy provided over half of its ODA to education through multilateral organizations (58%, US$186 million). Gender equality plays a prominent role in Italy’s recent education programming guidelines. The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is mentioned as a key partner in the guidelines, providing support for girls’ education in fragile and conflict-affected states and addressing quality of learning as well as teacher training. Italy has supported the GPE with US$61 million since becoming a donor in 2005 (as of May of 2020). For the 2018-2020 pledging period, Italy pledged €12 million (US$13 million).


In 2019, education was one of the few sectors that received a significant increase in bilateral funding from Italy with an allocation of US$137 million, up from US$119 million in 2018 (+16%). Italy spent most bilateral education ODA in 2019 in the area of ‘post-secondary education’ (45%), followed by ‘general education’ (36%), ‘basic education’ (10%), ‘vocational training’ (7%), and ‘secondary education’ (2%).

At a more disaggregated level the largest share of bilateral education ODA (30%) in 2019 was allocated to ‘education facilities and training’ in partner countries. A significant share of contributions also went to funding for ‘higher education’ (28%). US$23 million (17%) was spent on ‘advanced technical and managerial training’ in 2019 and US$10 million on ‘vocational training’ (7%).

DGCS defines education priorities; AICS leads implementation

The Directorate-General for Development Cooperation (DGCS) within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) oversees the strategic direction of Italy’s education policy. The DGCS’s office for programming of development cooperation, its geographic offices, and the unit for multilateral cooperation are relevant actors for defining Italy’s bilateral and multilateral education policy. The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) is in charge of program implementation. AICS’ office for ’Human Development’ is responsible for education projects.