MAPPED: How many hours do children spend at school around the world?

Recently proposed reforms could allow UK state schools to stay open until 4:30pm each day with pupils taking shorter, four-week summer holidays to spend more time in the classroom.

We’ve mapped the amount of hours pupils across the world spend in education each year. Click on a country to find out more about the hours spent in the classroom at primary, lower secondary and upper secondary level.

Primary study – less time than the global average

Speaking at the Spectator Education conference last week, Education secretary Michael Gove used the example of successful education systems in Asia which currently give students more time in the classroom and less free time and school holidays.

In the England, primary school children in state schools currently spend 635 hours in the classroom each year.

Compared to other countries at this stage English children do spend considerably less time in the classroom. In some countries, pupils of the same age can spend up to twice as much time at school:

  • In Indonesia primary school children spent the most amount of time in the classroom – 1,252 hours learning in class per year.
  • Children in Chile spend 1,232 hours in class
  • and in the United States, primary school children spend 1,096 hours learning.

When all countries’ figures are taken together, the average time spent in primary classrooms is 779 hours each year.

Children in countries such as Iceland, Russia, Estonia, Turkey, Denmark, Finland and Slovenia spend between 609 and 690 hours in the classroom.

However, in Poland, primary school pupils only spend 489 hours at school per year.

Secondary schools – more time than the global average

Each year secondary school pupils in England will spend 714 hours at school, an increase of 79 hours from when they were in primary education.

The trend of English children spending less time in school when younger than in other countries is reversed at the secondary education level. English children spend more time in secondary school than many other nations.

Chile and the United states still have many more hours’ tuition per year (1,232 and 1,051).

Scotland is also ranked highly for the hours its children spend in school with pupils having an extra 141 hours compared to those south of the border.

Children in Poland (486), Greece (426) and Denmark (377) spend the least amount of time in higher levels of education and fall well below the average of 656 hours each year.

The figures come from OECD data from 2009. We reported previously on the detail behind the figures.

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