Eurydice, a network whose task is to explain how education systems are organised in Europe and how they work, has published a report with facts and figures on Instruction time in European class rooms: “Recommended Annual Instruction Time in Full-time Compulsory Education”. The Eurydice network has been collecting data on instruction time for more than two decades and annually updated data on instruction time has been available on the Eurydice website since 2010.

The intended instruction time includes the time a public school is expected to provide instruction to students on all the subjects integrated in the compulsory and non-compulsory curriculum in the school premises or in out-of school activities which are formal parts of the compulsory programmes. This publication focuses on general education programmes in public sector schools. The number of years of full-time general compulsory education varies across European countries:
rising from eight years in Croatia and Serbia to twelve years in Belgium, Portugal, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey and the average number of hours recommended for reading, writing and literature for the whole of primary education is 958 hours, ranging from 525 hours in Croatia to 1 584 in France. In chapter 8 Eurydice explains the trend in the last five years is for instruction time in the core subject areas to increase.

The publication gives detailed numbers and figures for many European countries. It is interesting to see the differences. For example in the Netherlands the total compulsory instruction time for pre-primary and primary education (8 years) is 7 520 hours. It is to the discretion of the school how to distribute these hours over the years. In Iceland English and Danish languages are compulsory in grades 1-10 but schools are free to decide how to allocate the recommended minimum instruction time between English and Danish. In addition, in Switzerland, with the exception of a minimum number of lessons for physical education, there is no standard curriculum and no standard instruction time defined on national level.

For more facts and figures you can download the full publication below.