It’s interesting to learn how education around the world differs from our idea of ‘normal’ here in Australia. So what better way to celebrate our theme of education this month than for haven to take you on a quick geography lesson of schools around the globe…

For more than a decade, Finland’s education system has been hailed as one of the best in the world. Finnish kids don’t start school until they’re seven years old, but most can read and write by the end of their first year – in three languages. Finnish schools don’t require homework or testing until children are about 15 years old, and the average lunch break is 75 minutes long. Sounds good to us!

Japan offers an amazing blend of modernity and tradition, and Japanese schools are much the same. In addition to the basics like maths, science and music, Japanese students are also taught traditional skills like haiku poetry and shodo calligraphy. Popular extracurricular activities include judo, tea ceremony clubs and flower arranging classes. Children gather in small teams to complete different tasks, like serving lunch and even cleaning the school!

Indonesia’s education system is one of the biggest in the world, with around 55 million students across its many islands. Most kids will walk to school, but some take public transport at the cost of around 10c a day. The average school day ends around lunch time, but children attend six days a week and some begin school as young as four years old. Days consist of reading and writing as well as prayer, exercising and even sweeping the playground.

Education is highly valued in India and Indian schools typically o er little to no creative or extracurricular activities. It is not uncommon for Indian children to sit on the floor in their classrooms and some one-teacher classes can consist of nearly 85 children. Many Indian students participate in prayer and meditation at school and kite flying is a popular after- school activity.

Outback Australia
Australia is a big place, with some of the most remote communities in the world. The School of the Air (SOA) allows students in isolated locations to learn and interact with teachers and other students via radio, ensuring that all children have access to the same curriculum. Children no longer have to attend boarding schools or complete lessons by mail to get an education, and they even participate in annual sports days organised by SOA teachers.

A typical Russian school day starts at 8am and finishes at 1 or 2pm, but some schools also require students to study on Saturdays. Instead of wearing uniforms, Russian children rug up to brave the cold winters. Some bring their own lunches while others can buy them from the canteen, and lunches consist of anything from soup to pasta to porridge – anything warm, really!

After the 2010 earthquake that devastated Santiago, seven old commuter buses were transformed into a makeshift school for special-needs students. The students can attend school without fear of flooding or earthquakes and one of the buses has even been fitted out with boys’ and girls’ toilet cubicles. The other buses have room for 20 students each, complete with blackboards and wooden desks.

It is not uncommon for French children to attend some form of school or childcare from two months of age and most stay in school until they’re 16. French education is generally very competitive, but many students only have to attend four days a week. Students get two breaks as well as 90 minutes for lunchtime when they will feast on different meats, cheese, bread and even desserts from the “cantine”.

Students in Hawaii must attend their ‘home school’, or the school designated to the area in which they live. Tsunami drills are common practice to teach children how to get to high ground in the event of a tsunami or flood. Fresh local fruits are often on o er for breakfast and most schools in Hawaii don’t require uniforms. Students love to head straight to the beach after school.

Most Zimbabwean students start school when they’re six years old
and complete seven years of primary school before moving onto secondary school. There can be as many as 60 students in one class. Zimbabwe has been a hotspot for education innovation, with paperless classrooms and e-learning becoming mainstream. In 2015, two UK businesses teamed up to send a ‘classroom in a container’ to Zimbabwe, complete with books, chairs, tables, computers and musical instruments.

Words: Anny White



haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.