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Back-to-school: A world tour of the schools

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September is here! Which, of course, means back to school for our little ones… But does everyone follow the same September routine? We took a look at what happens around the world when students get back to class.

 

Chapter 1: India

 

We decided to start this school world tour with India, a country with strong ties to Kusmi Tea. The brand actually supports the Saibaba Path Municipal School in India, which welcomes 850 underprivileged children from a slum in Mumbai. Children in India go back to school in June, and as one student puts it, “I was so excited! I arrived at school at 7 AM. The principal and the teachers gave each of us a red rose and a chocolate for the welcoming ceremony (pravesh utsav). In class, our teacher gave us our timetables, books, and a bag of school supplies. I can’t wait to use them. After a delicious lunch at the canteen, we watched a movie about Gandhi and finished the day at 12.45 PM.”

 

Chapter 2: Australia

 

Our next stop is Australia, where the school calendar is also very different. Back-to-school dates vary from one region to another in this enormous country. But students are generally all back in class by the end of January. After all, summer in Australia starts on December 21, just after the end of the school year! Australian children study from 9 AM until around 3 PM, and artistic subjects and sports are usually taught in the afternoon. One nice feature of this system is the “assembly” – an important moment in every Australian student’s timetable. This gathering takes place once every one or two weeks depending on the school. All students are present, and receive prizes for good results and exemplary behavior. Education down-under certainly knows how to use positive reinforcement!

 

Chapter 3: Scandinavian Countries

 

While the Scandinavian countries are all neighbors, they each have a different approach to education. However, they all focus on children’s personal development. As a result, hardly any students repeat a year. Another shared characteristic is the importance placed on English, which is taught from elementary school onwards. Students even have access to language laboratories!

Young people in Finland have the fewest number of classes. They arrive at 8 AM and finish at the very start of the afternoon. The school year begins again in mid-August, far before our little ones in France! The Norwegians adopt more or less the same approach, except they finish around 3 AM. One particularity of the Scandinavian system is that students are divided based on levels of ability instead of classes. This means they might study certain subjects with older or younger children. The Swedish have very variable timetables as they can choose classes according their tastes and abilities from a young age.

 

Chapter 4: South America

 

In Argentina, students enjoy a very long “summer” vacation, from December through February. However, they have fewer holidays throughout the year than the French. They therefore go back to school in March. And every morning when they arrive, children raise the Argentinian flag and sing the national anthem before starting class. This is an important ceremony, and parents are even invited to join in on the day everyone goes back to school. Argentinian students wear white coats, just like their teachers, and have classes for half of the day. Some study in the morning, while others take classes in the afternoon.

 

Chapter 5: China

 

As for China, it may not surprise you to learn that Chinese students have the most classes. They finish late in the evening and even study on Saturdays. Just like in Scandinavia, English is taught from elementary school onwards. And similarly to Argentina, students take part in a flag raising ceremony while singing the national anthem. The school year is divided into two semesters with a month off between the two. The first begins on September 1 following the summer vacation while the second starts on March 1 after the Chinese New Year. And did you know? Chinese students have two weeks of work experience every semester from the age of ten!

 

Chapter 6: Russia

 

Last but not least, children in Russia all go back to school on September 1 every year. Known as “Knowledge Day,” this event is particularly festive. The happy students are smartly dressed with new haircuts and bring bouquets of flowers to their teachers!