• On average, school teachers in OECD countries have to teach 865 hours per year in public institutions.
  • However, this can vary for countries around the world - with teachers in Costa Rica expected to work 1,134 hours per year.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, teachers in Poland teach nearly 200 hours less than the average.

The OECD's latest edition of its "Education at a Glance" report provides an insight into education systems on all of the organization's member states. One interesting aspect of the research is the amount of time teachers actually spend in the classroom. On average, school teachers in OECD countries have to teach 865 hours per year in public institutions (average of primary and secondary instruction hours), though there are big differences in teaching time between countries.

Generally, teachers spend between three and six hours each day in the classroom, though there is no set rule on how teaching time is distributed throughout the year. Also, annual teaching hours vary widely, even within Europe. Italian school teachers have to teach for 941 hours per year which is almost 80 hours more than the OECD average, while those in Poland teach nearly 200 hours less than the average.

The following infographic provides an overview of the annual hours across ten selected countries. In Costa Rica, a public school teacher works 1,134 hours per year on average with Australia close behind with 1,008 hours. Asia's advanced economies are further down the list with Japan and South Korea counting 834 and 749 hours of instruction time, respectively.

Where teachers spend the most time in the classroom.
Costa Rica has the highest average hours of compulsory teaching from selected countries in 2021.
Image: Statista

What is the World Economic Forum doing to improve digital intelligence in children?

The latest figures show that 56% of 8-12-year-olds across 29 countries are involved in at least one of the world's major cyber-risks: cyberbullying, video-game addiction, online sexual behaviour or meeting with strangers encountered on the web.

Using the Forum's platform to accelerate its work globally, #DQEveryChild, an initiative to increase the digital intelligence quotient (DQ) of children aged 8-12, has reduced cyber-risk exposure by 15%.

In March 2019, the DQ Global Standards Report 2019 was launched – the first attempt to define a global standard for digital literacy, skills and readiness across the education and technology sectors.

The 8 Digital Citizenship Skills every child needs
The 8 Digital Citizenship Skills every child needs
Image: DQ Institute

Our System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Media, Information and Entertainment has brought together key stakeholders to ensure better digital intelligence for children worldwide. Find our more about DQ Citizenship in our Impact Story.