The adult literacy rate in Italy as of 2012 is 99 percent. The literacy rate in Italy has increased since 1981, when it was 96.5 percent of the adult population. As of 2014, Italy enforces a compulsory education system between the ages of 6 and 16.
The education system in Italy is divided into five stages of education, beginning with kindergarten and ending in the university system. Compulsory education in Italy came into existence with the Casati Act in 1859. Initially, the Casati Act was difficult to enforce in rural areas, and it took over 50 years for the illiteracy rate in Italy to halve from nearly 80 percent in 1861.