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School life around the world
School life around the world

Worldwide education is a fundamental right, and school gives us some of the most important life lessons to shape our future and personalities. Some countries have more of a financial advantage to spend on the education system and have more opportunities, whereas some require more funding but make the most of what they can offer. We decided to take a look at the worldwide education sector, and a typical day in the life of a student from each of these countries.

*Please keep in mind that each school is unique, and all figures are based on global averages.


England contains some of the most prestigious and top schools in the world, but not always the best academic results compared to other countries. Schools are free and compulsory here, but once you turn 16 you must spend the next two years of education either studying at college, sixth form or an apprenticeship, this is not compulsory for Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Many schools in England encourage extracurricular activities and clubs after school often run by students at the school.

School Hours: 6.5

Term Time: September - July

Average Class Size: 30

Lunch: Unfortunately, the UK has some of the unhealthiest lunches around the world, and often includes processed food. Lunch can either be brought in from home or bought from the canteen. The government however has been trying to crack down on child obesity for several years.

Break: 20 minutes in the morning and around 45-60 minutes for lunch. Infant schools usually have an extra afternoon break.

Uniform: English schools require students to wear a uniform, but it’s not compulsory after 16 if joining 6th form.

Starting and leaving age: age: 4 - 16


Like England, everyone in America has the opportunity to attend school for free. They usually start school at 5 which is called kindergarten and finish at 18 also known as 12th grade, there are age levels in the school system which is age 14-15 (Freshman) 15-16 (Sophomore) 16-17 (Junior) then 17-18 (Senior). Eight of the top 10 colleges and institutions in the world are American, according to a 2016 assessment issued by U.S. News & World Report (the other two are Oxford and Cambridge, in the United Kingdom).

School Hours: 7:30 - 3:30

Term Time: September - June

Average Class Size: 22 - 25

Lunch: Lunch can either be brought from home or served in a canteen with a tray featuring a different section of food. The tray usually consists of a drink (water, milk or juice) a main fried or quick, and a dessert-like fruit

Break: One hour for lunch and ten minutes before each class

Uniform: Most schools in America do not require a uniform unless attending a more prestigious school such as a private one.

Starting and leaving age: 5 (Kindergarten/first grade) - 18 (12th grade)


The school day is usually split into three different times, usually, If the school is smaller it offers only one or two of these options, and a student usually attends only one session per day. This is also intended to reduce the number of pupils leaving school early. Compulsory education in Brazil requires school attendance until the age of 14 however some students have to leave school earlier to work and support their families.

School Hours: 07:00 - 12:00 noon / 12:00 - 17:00 / 17:00 - 22:00

Term Time: Feb - June, Aug - Sept

Average Class Size: 30+

Lunch: Usually eaten at home when they finish school. Lunch is still available and usually have a good mix of meat, plant proteins and vegetables

Uniform: Required at most schools

Starting and leaving age: 6 - 14


Chinese children are taught three main traits from early childhood: hard work, discipline, and respect for those who are superior to them in age or position. Chinese children study for more than ten hours a day, when lessons finish around 3 - 4 pm they then continue studying and doing homework until 9 - 10 pm, in some elementary schools they have a ‘nap time’ after lunch to stop the children from falling asleep in the lesson. Most parents can be very stringent and push their children to do the best they can to ensure they get enough grades to attend university.

School Hours: 07:30 - 16:00

Term Time: Sept - July

Average Class Size: 21

Lunch: Lunch is provided and usually consists of rice, noodles, dumplings and pancakes. Students can also go home to have lunch with their families.

Break: 2 hours for lunch

Uniform: The majority of students are required to wear a uniform, and most schools require the pupils to wear a special formal outfit on Mondays and for special occasions.

Starting and leaving age:  6 - 16


French students go to school from Monday to Friday with Wednesday afternoons off, older students sometimes attend classes and exams on a Saturday too. Philosophy is a compulsory subject in the last year of secondary school, however, subjects like drama or food are not usually taught in mainstream schools, and religious education is only reserved for private schools.

School Hours: 08:00 - 16:00 (+ Half day Saturday)

Term Time: August - June

Average Class Size: 23

Lunch: For a country renowned for its food, school meals here are certainly an art form. School lunches aim to teach students about proper nutrition. Meals include food such as steak, fish cheese, salad, potatoes and bread.

Break: 2 hours for lunch

Uniform: Not usually required

Starting and leaving age: 6 - 18


With a population of over 1.3 billion India has the largest school system in the world, they study the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian School Certificate (ISC), additionally the international syllabuses such as IB and IGCSE. Typical curriculum in secondary school includes three language courses; the local dialect, English and one more language. Other classes include maths, science, tech, social sciences, art and physical education.

School Hours: 9:30 - 16:30

Term Time: August - June

Average Class Size: 60

Lunch: India has a midday meal scheme ordered by the government where it is mandatory that all primary and upper primary school children in government-aided schools receive a lunch. Typical meals include rice, curry, chutneys, veggies, flatbreads and fruits. Some students bring leftover food from dinner the night before to school.

Break: Two 30-minute breaks

Uniform: Compulsory

Starting and leaving age: 6 - 18


Kenyan education officials stated in July that the academic year would be cancelled and students would have to repeat it. The move was taken not only to safeguard children and teachers from Covid but also to address glaring issues of inequality that surfaced after schools were halted in March when some pupils had the technology to access remote learning after schools closed, others, though, did not. Kenyans take the KCPE after eight years of primary school (in English), which is roughly similar to the British National Curriculum Year 1–8, and consist of five subjects: maths, English, Swahili, science, social studies, and Christian Religious Education. After four years of undergraduate studies, individuals take the KSGSE at the secondary level (in English).

School Hours: 8:00 - 16:00

Term Time: The three terms span the whole year with breaks in between terms

Average Class Size: 30

Lunch: Certain schools provide lunch; some students save some of theirs to share with their families. Typical lunch includes githeri, corn, beans, vegetables and stew.

Break: Two short breaks and lunch, plus an hour and a half of the games in the afternoon

Uniform: Some schools do not require uniforms, where some others do and those who do not adhere to the rules risk dismissal. For some families, uniforms are not affordable and fund them and school supplies via a sponsorship programme.

Starting and leaving age: 6 - 13


In contrast to English private schools, Sweden's free schools do not charge tuition and are mandated to follow Sweden's national curriculum. Students in Swedish schools are not assigned any grades until the sixth grade (ages 12- 13), to avoid interfering with individual development and to prevent creating a sense of competition and stress. The school curriculum is based on mathematics, Swedish, housekeeping, social studies, and natural sciences from first to third grade. One of the most popular classes is housekeeping. Boys and girls learn to sew and knit together, as well as construct toys and use simple household appliances, and cook and bake using easy recipes.

School Hours: 08:00 - 15:30

Term Time: August - June

Average Class Size: 19

Lunch: The main food contains a warm meal, like a stew with potatoes or pasta with sauce. On the side you can find a salad and a selection of cooked vegetables, and, of course, “knäckebröd”, which is famous for crispy bread. Drinks are milk or water.

Break: Short morning break and hours lunch

Uniform: Not compulsory

Starting and leaving age: 6 - 16


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