Class size is always a hot topic in the teaching community. The size of a class can have a huge impact on the quality of teaching many feel able to provide and being able to spend time with students equally can end up being difficult if a class size is too large.

Around the world, there are huge differences in population, with many countries having billions of people, and because of this the average class size can vary dramatically across the globe.

Here are ten countries in the world and how their average class size (secondary age) stacks up. Figures sourced from the OECD figures for 2014.

1. China – 48.8 per class

 

With China’s population being in the region of 1.357 billion (2013), it’s hardly surprising that they top the list as having the largest class sizes.

When you add into the equation that there are many regions with extremely remote communities, where class sizes are probably tiny, you get a real sense for how large some of the classes in inner city areas must be.

Fun fact: Chinese schools typically run from 7:30am till 5:00pm. That’s a very long day!

With China’s population being in the region of 1.357 billion (2013), it’s hardly surprising that they top the list as having the largest class sizes.

When you add into the equation that there are many regions with extremely remote communities, where class sizes are probably tiny, you get a real sense for how large some of the classes in inner city areas must be.

Fun fact: Chinese schools typically run from 7:30am till 5:00pm. That’s a very long day!

2. Singapore – 35.5 per class

Singapore is a lot smaller than China with a population of 5.399 million (2013), but it’s class sizes are not far behind them. However, despite the larger class sizes, it was stated by the OECD in 2015, that Singapore actually has one of the best education systems in the world.

Fun fact: Singapore schools are all taught in English as well as their native tongue. This means that Singapore has one of the highest fluency rates of English in South-East Asia.

Japan – 32.5 per class

Japan’s population is 127.3 million (2013), so neither as big as China but as small as Singapore.

School and the respect of manners and elders are a huge deal in Japan. It seems absurd but the concepts of skipping class or turning up late are alien to most students.

Fun fact: Japanese students all eat their lunch together in their classrooms. They have no cafeterias and their classmates, taking it in turns, serve them.

4. United States – 26.7 per class

The United States sits around the middle of the list, despite its population of 318.9 million (2014). However, when you factor in this is the country as a whole it can vary greatly from state to state.

For example, the most densely filled classrooms seem to be in Nevada which has an average class size of 34.5 and higher than Singapore, but for the more sparsely populated remote states like Alaska, this drops to 18.7, putting it near to the bottom. (Figures sourced from National Center for Education Statistics, 2015)

Fun fact: America holds the top spot of having the most international students in the world.

5. Spain – 25.4 per class

Next, on our list, we head to Spain and our first European country. Spain’s population of 46.77 million (2014) means that their class sizes are pretty average in the world.

The Spanish school system is quite similar to that of the British system, with school being compulsory until 16 and most schools running before and after-school clubs.

When you reach a certain point of school in Spain you must decide whether to continue to a high school (bachillerato) or go to a vocational school. You may only enter a Spanish university if you attend a high school.

Fun fact: In Spain, although school are publicly funded, parents must pay for all their children’s books.

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