Geographies in Depth

Parents in these countries are most likely to help their kids with homework

Simona, an 11 year-old Roma schoolgirl who has been living in France for 6 years, does her homework in an hotel in the centre of  Nice, southeastern France, November 22, 2013. About fifty migrants from Romania were evicted from an illegal camp on November 27, 2013 where they had been living for 5 months. Six families with school-age children have received emergency housing at an hotel in Nice, as they wait for council housing. The other families have left the encampment with their belongings and will ask for a repatriation grant to Romania. Picture taken November 22, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (FRANCE - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY IMMIGRATION EDUCATION)

Parents in developed countries spend significantly less time helping their children with homework. Image: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Adam Jezard
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If helping with homework is a measure of how much mothers and fathers care for their kids, then parents in India must be the most loving in the world.

Parents from the subcontinent provide the most assistance to their children, according to a new study. It also finds that parents in emerging economies spend more time helping children with schoolwork than those in richer nations.

Globally, better-educated parents were the most likely to offer help, while 39% of those who had only been educated to primary level gave no help at all.

These are some of the findings from a study of almost 27,500 parents in 29 countries by the Varkey Foundation, a charity that aims to improve the education of underprivileged children around the world.

Number of hours per week that parents spend helping children with studies. Image: Varkey Foundation

True quality time?

One-quarter of parents worldwide spend seven or more hours a week helping their children with their studies, a figure that rises to 39% in Colombia, 50% in Vietnam and 62% in India.

But in developed economies the amount of support falls dramatically. Only 11% of parents in the United Kingdom, 10% in France and Japan, and 5% in Finland help their children after school.

Indian parents spend an average of 12 hours a week helping with homework, while Vietnamese parents give up 10.2 hours. Turkish mums and dads, who devote 8.7 hours to after-school learning, came third.

The average time spent on out-of-school educational engagement globally was 6.7 hours a week, with parents from countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America offering above-average levels of assistance.

Parents in the United States and Poland offered 6.2 hours each, while those in the UK give up 3.6 hours. Finland’s parents offer 3.1 hours, and Japanese parents help for 2.6 hours each week.

Happy… and unhappy...

However, most mums and dads expressed high levels of confidence in the quality of teaching their children received, with 78% globally rating it good or very good.

But they were less confident in the overall quality of free-to-attend schools in their own country.

Fifty-five percent of parents with children in state-funded educational institutions said that they would send their child to a fee-paying school if they could afford it, while 61% of parents worldwide approved of vouchers to help with costs.

While support for such schemes was generally higher in lower-income and emerging economies, globally, younger and better-educated parents were more likely to consider sending their children to a fee-paying school if they could afford it.

They were also more likely to approve of parents, groups of teachers, private companies, and religious institutions running free-to-attend schools.

Have you read?

Low expectations, high results?

However, there is little relationship between how good educational outcomes are nationally, as measured by the PISA international educational rankings, and parental confidence in teaching quality.

For example, 43% of parents in South Korea and 60% of those in Japan expressed low levels of confidence in the quality of education, although these countries excelled in the PISA rankings.

As the fourth industrial revolution evolves, the amount of time you spend helping your children with schoolwork could give them the edge over their competitors in the workplaces of the future.

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Related topics:
Geographies in DepthEducation and SkillsEconomic Growth
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