Education at a Glance 2016
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Education at a Glance 2016

OECD Indicators

Education at a Glance is the authoritative source for information on the state of education around the world. It provides key information on the output of educational institutions; the impact of learning across countries; the financial and human resources invested in education; access, participation and progression in education; and the learning environment and organisation of schools.

The 2016 edition introduces a new indicator on the completion rate of tertiary students and another one on school leaders. It provides more trend data and analysis on diverse topics, such as: teachers’ salaries; graduation rates; expenditure on education; enrolment rates; young adults who are neither employed nor in education or training; class size; and teaching hours. The publication examines gender imbalance in education and the profile of students who attend, and graduate from, vocational education.

The report covers all 35 OECD countries and a number of partner countries (Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Lithuania, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and South Africa).

This edition includes more than 125 figures and 145 tables. The Excel™ spreadsheets used to create them are available via the StatLinks provided throughout the publication. More data is available in the OECD Education Statistics database.

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Indicator D4 How Much Time do Teachers Spend Teaching? You do not have access to this content

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Indicator D4 shows the statutory working time and statutory teaching time of teachers at different levels of education. It also includes the tasks and responsibilities of lower secondary teachers.

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Chapter Highlights

  • Public school teachers teach an average of 1 005 hours per year at the pre-primary level, 776 hours at the primary level, 694 hours at the lower secondary level (general programmes), and 644 hours at the upper secondary level (general programmes).

  • In the majority of countries with available data, the amount of teaching time in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary public institutions remained largely unchanged between 2000 and 2014.

Figure D4.1. Number of teaching hours per year in general lower secondary education (2000, 2005 and 2014)
Net statutory contact time in public institutions

1. Actual teaching time.

2. Year of reference 2013 instead of 2014.

Countries and economies are ranked in descending order of the number of teaching hours per year in general lower secondary education in 2014.

Source: OECD. Table D4.2. See Annex 3 for notes (

ContextExpand / Collapse

Although statutory working hours and teaching hours only partly determine teachers’ actual workload, they do offer valuable insight into the demands placed on teachers in different countries. Teaching hours and the extent of non-teaching duties may also affect the attractiveness of the teaching profession. Together with teachers’ salaries (see Indicator D3) and average class size (see Indicator D2), this indicator presents some key measures regarding the working lives of teachers.

The proportion of statutory working time spent teaching provides information on the amount of time available for non-teaching activities such as lesson preparation, correction, in-service training and staff meetings. A large proportion of statutory working time spent teaching may indicate that less time is devoted to tasks such as assessing students and preparing lessons. It also could indicate that teachers have to perform these tasks on their own time and hence to work more hours than required by statutory working time.

In addition to class size and the ratio of students to teaching staff (see Indicator D2), students’ hours of instruction (see Indicator D1) and teachers’ salaries (see Indicator D3), the amount of time teachers spend teaching also affects the financial resources countries need to allocate to education (see Indicator B7).

Other findingsExpand / Collapse

  • The number of teaching hours per year required of the average public school teacher in pre-primary, primary and secondary education varies considerably across countries and tends to decrease as the level of education increases.

  • On average, in public institutions pre-primary teachers are required to teach about 34% more hours than primary school teachers, but the difference between pre-primary and primary school teachers in the time during which teachers are required to be working at school, or in their total working time, is often much smaller.

  • Required teaching time in public schools varies more at the pre-primary level across countries than at any other level.

  • The number of teaching hours in public pre-primary schools averages 1 005 hours per year, ranging from 532 hours per year in Mexico to 1 508 hours in Norway.

  • Public primary school teachers teach an average of 776 hours per year, but teaching time ranges from 569 hours or less in Greece and the Russian Federation to 1 148 hours in Chile.

  • The number of teaching hours in public lower secondary schools averages 694 hours per year, ranging from 459 hours in Greece to over 1 000 hours in Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

  • Teachers in public upper secondary schools teach an average of 644 hours per year, but teaching time ranges from 386 hours in Denmark to over 1 000 hours in Chile and Colombia.

  • Most countries regulate the number of hours per year that teachers are formally required to work, including teaching and non-teaching activities. Some of these countries regulated the specific number of hours required at school, while others set the overall working time, including hours at school and elsewhere.

TrendsExpand / Collapse

While there has been little change in average teaching hours over the past decade, some countries with available data reported an increase or decrease of 10% or more in teaching time in public pre-primary, primary, lower secondary and/or upper secondary education between 2000 and 2014. In Korea, however, net teaching time at the primary level dropped dramatically, by more than 20% between 2000 and 2014, while net teaching time increased by 16% or more in Japan at primary level and Israel at the lower secondary level.

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