Every year, 674 staff members are sent from Italy to work within the Italian education system in the world, supporting the network of embassies, consular offices and cultural institutes in their culture diplomacy activities.
These employees form the so-called School Staff Contingent Abroad, consisting of school directors, state-school teachers, teachers of courses organised by managing bodies, teachers in state-authorised private schools, teachers in foreign schools, Italian language assistants at foreign universities and administrative staff.
The Contingent’s characteristics (recruitment procedures, destinations abroad, duration, return to Italy, salary, training, coordination) are governed by Italian Legislative Decree no. 64/2017, which outlined a new reference framework for interventions abroad, for both schools and universities. For each academic year, an Inter-ministerial Contingent Decree is issued, stating how many places in the network are to be distributed.
To become part of the School Staff Contingent Abroad, candidates must already have a permanent contract with their school and must have at least three years of effective experience in a role corresponding to the duties to be performed abroad. Linguistic, cultural and professional skills are also necessary. Candidates who meet these requirements may submit an application when a call is launched; ranking tables are then created, which last for six years. The most recent call for applications (for school directors, teachers, lecturers and administrative, technical and auxiliary staff) was in 2019, so the next is expected in 2025. However, if the rankings have all been used up or are missing, selection procedures may be launched before the six-year deadline.
All legally required information on transfers, vacant posts, temporary assignments and rankings is published on the esteri.it website (in Italian).
Specific provisions apply to staff working in European schools, who form a separate Contingent (121 members of staff in 2020/2021).
State schools and, even more so, state-authorised private schools, complete their staff with local contract staff, including both teachers and non-teaching staff.