Education

This is how many hours teachers work in public schools around the world

A teacher asks students to raise their hands to answer a question about the Olympic Games during class at Shiratori elementary school in Tokyo, Japan, June 30, 2021. Picture taken June 30, 2021. REUTERS/Irene Wang - RC2RAO9AG6DF

In Costa Rica, a public school teacher works 1,134 hours per year on average with Australia close behind with 1,008 hours. Image: REUTERS/Irene Wang

Martin Armstrong
Data Journalist, Statista
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Education

  • 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.

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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
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