In this article, we delve into education statistics to identify countries where students spend the most hours per week on homework. Homework, a well-known educational tool, comprises assignments given by teachers for students to complete outside of school. This practice, prevalent for centuries, has been generally accepted as beneficial, but in the last five to seven years, a debate on its necessity and volume has emerged with many people turning to online study help to get them through it. This has prompted various countries to reevaluate the emphasis on homework. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has been instrumental in studying this aspect of education in its member countries. Let’s explore the findings from a recent OECD study and Forbes calculations on the top ten countries where students invest the most time in homework.
Japan exhibits a strong educational foundation, with both public and private institutions playing pivotal roles. Despite being an industrial country focusing on motor skills and having a lower emphasis on higher literacy, Japanese students spend an average of 3.8 hours a week on homework. Remarkably, they are ranked 2nd in OECD’s professional skills ranking.
Germany offers free education up to the college level, supported by high tax rates. While there is some debate on inequality in the system, the country boasts a 99% literacy rate. Students in Germany dedicate an average of 4.7 hours weekly to homework, showcasing strong skills in reading, math, and science.
France has a centralized and systematic education structure, with a blend of public and private institutions and a focus on international education. Despite students spending only 5.1 hours a week on homework, the literacy rate stands at 99%. However, there is room for improvement in the OECD rankings.
The Secretariat of Education under the Federal Government regulates Mexico’s century-old education system. The country has achieved a literacy rate of 98.5% by spending more than 5% of its GDP on education. Students spend 5.2 hours a week on homework, but there is a noticeable need for improvement in reading skills and knowledge of science and math.
In Canada, education falls under provincial jurisdiction and is internationally renowned, especially at higher levels. Canadian students spend an average of 5.5 hours a week on homework and rank 5th in OECD’s skills ranking in reading, math, and science.
Austria maintains a well-defined education system with a strong emphasis on reading skills. The education system, compulsory from ages 5 to 15, sees students spending almost 6 hours a week on homework, ranking 5th in skills among OECD countries.
The USA hosts a well-established education system aimed at developing proficient professionals. With diverse public and private institutions, students in the USA spend 6.1 hours a week on homework yet rank 21st among OECD countries in knowledge and skill levels.
Poland, with a historic emphasis on education, boasts an education system ranked 4th in Europe and 10th globally. Polish students dedicate nearly 6.6 hours weekly to homework and hold the 6th position in OECD’s skill and knowledge ranking.
Ireland’s emphasis on education has resulted in a near 99% literacy rate, with students spending 7.3 hours a week on homework. Irish students rank 10th among OECD countries in essential knowledge and skills.
Italy’s education system, spanning over a century and a half, comprises five stages of education. With a 99% literacy rate, Italian students spend the most time on homework, averaging 8.7 hours a week, yet rank 23rd in OECD’s assessment of skills.
Understanding the balance between homework and the acquisition of skills is crucial for shaping future education policies. These ten countries showcase diverse homework approaches, each with unique outcomes and challenges. The ongoing debate on homework’s role will likely lead to continued reassessments and adaptations in education systems worldwide.
Stay informed on global education trends and join the conversation on the role of homework in student development. How does your country compare, and what are your thoughts on the homework debate? Share your opinions, experiences, and ideas for a balanced and effective education system, and let’s work together to shape the future of education.