What school days look like around the world

Reading time: 4 min

Did you know that in Finland, schools have no exams and no grades? Here, we look at schools around the world, and how they differ.

Read on for more interesting comparisons of schools around the globe…

France

  • 162 school days per year.
  • Average class size of 23 students.
  • A typical school day lasts from 8am to 4pm.
  • Older students get Wednesdays off (but may have Saturday school lessons).
  • Attend class for eight hours every day other than Wednesdays.
  • A two-hour lunch break provided school lunches are intended to teach students about good nutrition.
  • Uniforms are not required.

Japan

  • 210-250 school days per year.
  • Average class size of 29 students.
  • A typical school day lasts from 8:45am to 3:15pm.
  • Students have a long enough lunch break to go home for lunch with family or to eat at school, where lunch is provided.
  • Uniforms are required, with extensive rules-based on formal military dress.
  • Average of 3.8 hours a week on homework.
  • Most children attend after-school lessons (called “gakudo”).

Russia

  • 211 school days per year.
  • Average class size of 16 students.
  • A typical school day lasts from 8:30am to 3pm.
  • Lunch/food: Breakfast is provided until 12pm, lunches after 12pm are paid for.
  • Uniform was declared law in 2013. Each school can choose its uniform.
  • Students in Russia stay together in the same class from their first year of school until their last year of mandatory education.

Australia

  • 200 school days per year.
  • Average class size of 18 students.
  • A typical school day lasts from 9:am to 3:30pm.
  • Mid-morning tea break, followed by a longer lunch break.
  • Uniforms are usually compulsory.

UK

  • 190 school days per year.
  • Average class size is up to 30 students.
  • A typical school day lasts from 9am to 3:30pm.
  • Students get a 20-minute morning break, followed by 45-to 60-minute lunch break.
  • Uniforms are usually compulsory, but rules are more relaxed in Scotland and Wales.

Brazil

  • 200 school days per year.
  • Average class size is 30 or more students.
  • A typical school day lasts from 7am to 12pm.
  • Lunch is usually eaten at home after school.
  • Uniforms are required at most schools.

“…did you know that schools in Finland have no exams and no grades?”

China

  • 221 school days per year.
  • Average class size is 30 or more students.
  • A typical school day lasts from 7:30am to 5pm.
  • Children often go home for lunch and family time during a two-hour lunch break.
  • Almost all schools require students to wear a uniform, and many have a formal set for Mondays and special occasions.

Kenya

  • 190 school days per year.
  • Average class size is 30 students.
  • A typical school day lasts from 8am to 4pm.
  • Many schools provide lunch, which some students save to share with their families.
  • Uniforms are required at all schools.

South Korea

  • 220 school days per year.
  • Average class size is 30 students.
  • A typical school day lasts from 8am to 4pm.
  • A nutritious lunch is provided at school.
  • Government-provided uniforms are required.
  • Many students attend after-school classes, often late into the evening.

Finland

  • 190 school days per year.
  • Average class size of 23 students.
  • A typical school day lasts from 9am to 2pm
  • Students usually only have a couple of classes a day. They have several breaks to eat, enjoy recreational activities and relax. A number of 15- to 20-minute intervals are spread throughout the day.
  • Uniforms are not required.

South Africa

  • 200 school days per year.
  • Average class size is 30 students.
  • A typical school day lasts from 7:30am to 2pm.
  • Poorer schools are given breakfast and/or lunch through the government feeding programme.
  • Uniforms are required at most schools.

We hope you found it interesting to compare South African school days with school days around the world. We’d love to hear your opinions about which countries you think are getting it right.

Also read:

From playschool to big school: How to help your child successfully transition
Why it’s good news that Swahili is coming to South African schools