The Fascist government endorsed a stringent education policy in Italy aiming at eliminating illiteracy which was a serious problem in Italy at the time and improving loyalty of Italians to the state. To reduce drop-outs, the government changed the minimum age of leaving school from twelve to fourteen and strictly enforced attendance. The Fascist government's first minister of education from 1922 to 1924, Giovanni Gentile recommended that education policy should focus on indoctrination of students into Fascism, and to educate youth to respect and be obedient to authority. In 1929, education policy took a major step towards being completely taken over by the agenda of indoctrination. In that year, the Fascist government took control of the authorization of all textbooks, all secondary school teachers were required to take an oath of loyalty to Fascism, and children began to be taught that they owed the same loyalty to Fascism as they did to God. In 1933, all university teachers were required to be members of the National Fascist Party. From 1930s to 1940s, Italy's education focused on the history of Italy displaying Italy as a force of civilization during the Roman era, displaying the rebirth of Italian nationalism and the struggle for Italian independence and unity during the Risorgimento. In the late 1930s, the Fascist government copied Nazi Germany's education system on the issue of physical fitness, and began an agenda that demanded that Italians become physically healthy. Intellectual talent in Italy was rewarded and promoted by the Fascist government through the Royal Academy of Italy which was created in 1926 to promote and coordinate Italy's intellectual activity.
A major success in social policy in Fascist Italy was the creation of the Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro (OND) or "National After-work Program" in 1925. The OND was the state's largest recreational organizations for adults. The Dopolavoro was so popular that, by the 1930s, all towns in Italy had a Dopolavoro clubhouse and the Dopolavoro was responsible for establishing and maintaining 11,000 sports grounds, over 6,400 libraries, 800 movie houses, 1,200 theatres, and over 2,000 orchestras. Membership was voluntary and nonpolitical. In the 1930s under the direction of Achille Starace the OND became primarily recreational, concentrating on sports and other outings. It is estimated that by 1936 the OND had organized 80% of salaried workers.de Grazia, Victoria. Nearly 40% of the industrial workforce had been recruited into the Dopolavoro by 1939 and the sports activities proved popular with large numbers of workers. The OND had the largest membership of any of the mass Fascist organizations in Italy. The enormous success of the Dopolavoro in Fascist Italy prompted Nazi Germany to create its own version of the Dopolavoro, the Kraft durch Freude (KdF) or "Strength through Joy" program, which was even more successful than the Dopolavoro. Another organization the Opera Nazionale Balilla (ONB) was widely popular and provided young people with access to clubs, dances, sports facilities, radios, concerts, plays, circuses and outdoor hikes at little or no cost. It sponsored tournaments and sports festivals.