infographic of the month – september

Back to school!

Author: Gabriela Hein
Graphic: Valerio Salinitro
Date: 14th September 2021

This August and September, many schools around the world have been opening their doors again after the long summer holidays. So, what better time than now for an infographic all about school?

Let’s go to school!

First of all: good news! The total number of elementary school students worldwide has increased in recent years. In 2000, approximately 657 million children were enrolled in elementary education. Almost 20 years later, in 2019, this figure amounted to about 739 million. The highest recorded figure to date was 742 million in 2017. During this same time period, an increasing number of students graduated from elementary school, with the graduation rate totaling almost 90 percent in 2019.

Different countries, different customs: first day traditions

The first day of school is special and exciting, both for the child and their parents, and it is a celebrated day in many countries. As such, first-day rituals are not to be missed.

  • In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, children receive a large cone known as a Schultüte as a gift for their first day of school, which is either made or bought by their parents and filled. These conical packages typically contain candy, school utensils, such as sketch pads and colored pencils, and/or toys. This does not come cheap: Germans spend an average of almost €60 on a Schultüte.
  • In Russia, children give small bouquets of flowers to their teachers. These bouquets are a sign of respect. This tradition also exists in other Eastern European countries, such as Lithuania.
  • Children in India eat a special yogurt on their first day of school, a tradition that is believed to bring good luck. The tradition of eating yogurt on special occasions is widespread in India as it is a product of cows, which are regarded as sacred animals in this country.

School’s out… again?

When people enter the world of employment and realize how limited their vacation days are, it can often feel like students are constantly on vacation. In some ways, this is actually true: In 2020, students in Germany had an average of 13.15 weeks of vacation out of 53 weeks that year.

Did you know that …

… the world’s smallest school is found in Alpette, Italy, and has only one student and one teacher?

… the world’s largest school is located in India and has approximately 51,000 students and 2,500 teachers?

… Australia’s “Schools of the Air” for children based in rural communities have been in operation for 70 years, first broadcast via radio, lessons now take place online.

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