Nation states across Europe have pushed back against linguistic diversity in favour of one national language. In South Tyrol, German-speaking schools were banned under Fascism from 1924 on. At the end of the Second World War a school model was introduced to take account of the needs of all three language groups. 

Globalisation is bringing new challenges for the South Tyrolean school model. English is often already considered more important than the second regional language. At the same time, migration is stoking old and new fears of linguistic and cultural alienation. But this new diversity is also being seen as an enrichment.


As official languages, German and Italian are treated as equals throughout South Tyrol, with Ladin also having this status in the Ladin-speaking areas. Autonomy also guarantees that each of these language groups has its own school system. Multilingualism is still a challenge for many people.


Because of the historical experience of South Tyrol, common multilingual schooling is still officially taboo. However, the choice of school is free: Italian children can go to German schools and vice versa. In school experiments, up to 50 percent of the lessons can now take place in the other regional language. Italian schools make more use of this.

Italian school


German as second language

Teachers must belong to the language group in which they teach.

German school


Italian as second language

Teachers must belong to the language group in which they teach.

Ladin school

German & Italian

Ladin as a school subject and as an auxiliary language

Ladin-speaking teachers teach in all three languages of instruction.

Language can be both exclusive and inclusive. In addition to the three official languages of German, Italian and Ladin, almost every valley in South Tyrol has its own dialect. There are also the numerous languages spoken by migrants.