The FINANCIAL — October 5, it is World Teachers’ Day and to mark this occasion, some statistics are provided on the number of pupils per teacher (pupil-teacher ratio) in upper secondary education across the European Union (EU).
There were an estimated 1.8 million teachers in EU upper secondary school education in 2016. Students usually enter upper secondary school programmes (classified as ISCED level 3) between the ages of 14 and 16. These programmes are typically designed to complete secondary education in preparation for tertiary education or provide skills relevant to employment, or both, according to EUstat.
Across the EU the average number of pupils per teacher at upper secondary level in 2016 was 12.0, though the figures vary across EU Member States. The highest pupil-teacher ratios were in the Netherlands (17.9), Finland (17.2) and the United Kingdom (16.5). In contrast, the lowest ratios were in Lithuania (7.7), Malta (8.3) and Luxembourg (9.0).
The pupil-teacher ratio is calculated by dividing the number of full-time equivalent pupils by the number of full-time equivalent teachers teaching at ISCED level 3. The pupil-teacher ratio should not be confused with average class size as it does not take into account special cases, like the small size of groups of special needs pupils or specific subject areas, or the difference between the number of hours of teaching provided by teachers and the number of hours of instruction prescribed for pupils.