9 fun facts about education around the world

Just as cultures differ around the world, so too do education systems. (Rawpixel pic)

Schooling is an important part of a child’s life and has an impact not only on the future of the individual but on the country as a whole.

According to Unesco, in 2010, some 61 million primary school-age children were not enrolled in school. Of these, 47% were not expected to enter school at all, 26% attended school but left and 27% were expected to attend school in the future.

Whether or not someone received a good education can be a factor in their life decisions. For example, women in Mali with a secondary level education or higher have an average of three children while those with no education have an average of seven.

Education plays a vital role in the quality of life and each country has its own unique approach. Like traditions, cultures and eating habits around the world, education systems vary from country to country.

Here are some of the interesting things about schooling around the world:

1. The world’s oldest school is located in Canterbury, England. The King’s School is said to have been founded during the Late Antiquity in 597 AD by Augustine of Canterbury considered the “Apostle to the English” and a founder of the English church.

When the Dissolution of the Monasteries took place, it was re-founded in 1541 by royal charter, and the name “King’s School” was used for the first time, referring to King Henry VIII.

2. Finland’s comprehensive school system is considered one of the best in Europe’s education rankings. Children in Finland do not start school until the age of seven, making them the oldest around the world to start school.

3. In Brazil, school starts at 7am and is over by noon so children can go home and have lunch with their parents. Having meals together as a family is an important part of Brazilian culture.

In Brazil, schools close in time for lunch so children can share the meal with their parents. (Rawpixel pic)

4. The world’s highest school is situated in Phumachangtang, Tibet. Set up in 1986, the school provides free compulsory education. At 5,373 metres above sea level, this sole primary school is 200 metres higher than base camp on Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world.

5. In Italy, there was a teacher who had few problems controlling her class because she only had one pupil. In fact, there was only one pupil in the entire school.

In 2014, the elementary school in the tiny town of Alpette, Turin, was believed to be the smallest in the world, with eight-year-old Sofia Viola the only one attending. Officials had made the decision to keep the school open as long as there was at least one person in class.

6. In contrast, the City Montessori School in Lucknow, India, is the largest school in the world with over 55,000 students and 4,500 staff across 18 campuses in the city.

7. Most countries have a fixed intake date for school, but in the Netherlands children are welcome to join Group 1 (the first year of primary school) on the day they turn four, which means that there’s always someone new in class.

However, attending school is not compulsory until the child turns five and most schools allow flexibility in school hours if the parents think the child is finding it too much.

8. Throughout its history, knitting has been a vital part of Icelandic culture. From the age of seven, all children are taught how to knit as part of their regular school syllabus.

9. One the most interesting education facts is the longest class in history, which lasted for two days. In 2003, the Biology class of Prof Marie at State High School Laidlaw, in Australia, began on April 15 and ended 53 hours later, on April 17.

Today, with the Covid-19 pandemic, many institutions have had to close their doors. This has paved the way for schools to adopt new methods to reach their students. Many have opted for virtual classes so their students stay safe at home.

Think back to when you were in school. Can you remember some interesting things about the education system then?

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