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EDUCATION INDICATORS: An International Perspective

Indicator 23: Number of Schools and School Size

This indicator measures the number of public and private schools, the number of students, and the average number of students per school at the preprimary through secondary and higher education levels. In most education systems, schooling is divided by level (e.g., preprimary, primary, lower secondary, upper secondary, and so on) or by curricular program (e.g., academic, vocational). These levels and programs may be separated by school, or they may be combined. If they are kept separate, the number of individual schools is likely to be large, and the average school size is likely to be small. Some educators believe there is a negative association between large school size and student achievement and therefore encourage a reduction in the number of students per school. On the other hand, though smaller schools may have a stronger sense of community, larger schools often can provide broader curricular offerings.

  • Of the G-7 countries for which data are available for various years between 1989 and 1992, the United States and Japan had the largest average number of students per school at the preprimary through secondary level (398 and 395, respectively). The average for France (166), the G-7 country with the smallest number of students per school, was less than half that of the United States and Japan.

  • The average number of students per preprimary through secondary school in Taiwan (873), the country with the largest number of students per school, was over five times higher than that of Finland (156), the country with the smallest average school size at the preprimary through secondary level.

  • Of the G-7 countries included in various years between 1988 and 1993, the United States had a greater average number of students per school at the higher education level (3,988) than Japan (2,188) and Canada (3,769). Germany, Korea, and Taiwan were the only 3 countries among the 11 for which data were available with averages above 5,000. Korea's average (5,677) was almost 8 times that of Belgium (728), the country with the smallest number of students per school.

Table 23a: Number of public and private schools, number of students, and average number of students per school in preprimaryBR through secondary institutions, by level and country: various years


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				Number of			Number of	Total		Number of 	      			
				schools       	Number of	preprimary-	Average	 	preprimary		Average	
     				preprimary-     preprimary-	secondary	number of 	secondary		numder of      
				primary		secondary      	secondary       secondary	students (in		students
Country		Year		schools	       	schools		combined	schools		thousands)		per
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
G-71	 
Canada          1989             - -              - -             - -            14,300           5,020                  351         
France          1991-92         62,119          11,306            - -            73,425          12,219                  166
Germany         1991            19,877          16,172             580           36,629          10,119                  276
Japan           1989            39,903          16,781            - -            56,684          22,376                  395
United Kingdom  1991-92         25,338           4,731           2,488           32,557           9,049                  278 
United States   1991-92         78,078          26,510           3,269          107,857          42,964                  398
Other
Australia       1992             7,086           1,617           1,254            9,957           3,099                  311
Belgium /2      1990-91          1,878             692              --            2,570             799                  311      
Finland         1993              -                820           4,610            5,430             849                  156 
Korea           1990            14,689           4,198              --           18,887           9,867                  522
New Zealand     1990             2,917             253             146            3,316             692                  209 
Spain           1990-91         20,517           5,370              - -          25,887           8,369                  323
Taiwan          1991-92          4,432             975              - -           5,396           4,711                  873
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-Not available.
1/ No data available for Italy.
2/ French community only.

NOTE: Private school data included in U.S. figures for number of schools by level are adjusted using nationalBR percentages of public school distribution by level. See supplemental note to Indicator 23 for further details.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1993, tables 44 and 95; Digest of Education Statistics, 1994, table 63. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Center for Educational Research and Innovation, International Indicators Project, 1993. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, Statistical Yearbook, 1992. Various country sources see supplemental note to Indicator 23 for a listing.


Table 23b: Number of public and private higher education institutions,
number of students enrolled, and average number of students per institution,
by level and country: various years

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			                      Number of	      Average
					        Total          number	       students	       number of
			     Number of	      of higher	     enrolled in       students           per
			   nonuniversity      Number of	     education	    higher education  institution of
Country		Year	    institutions     universities    institutions    (in thousands)  higher education
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
G-71
Canada          1987            102             127              229               863           3,769
France          1990-91         407              77              484             1,276           2,636
Germany         1991            217              98              315             1,783           5,660
Japan           1988             63             490            1,123             2,613           2,327
United States   1991-92       1,444           2,157            3,601            14,360           3,988
Other
Belgium2        1990-91         142               9              151               110             728
Finland         1993            175              21              196               188             959
Korea           1990            151             107              258             1,491           5,779
New Zealand     1990             31               7               38               142           3,737
Spain           1989-90          -               -               743             1,093           1,471
Taiwan          1991-92          75              46              121               612           5,058
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-Not available.
1/ No data available for Italy or the United Kingdom.
2/ French community only.

NOTE: See Glossary for definitions of university and nonuniversity institutions.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1992, table 227; Digest of Education Statistics, 1993, table 192. Various country sources-see supplemental note to Indicator 23 for a listing.


Figure 23a: Average number of students enrolled per preprimary_secondary education institution, by G_7 country:* various years

Figure 23a

*No data available for Italy.

NOTE: See supplemental note to Indicator 23 for country-level sources.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1993, tables 44 and 95; Digest of Education Statistics, 1994, table 62. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, Statistical Yearbook, 1992. Various country sourcessee supplemental note to Indicator 23 for a listing.


Figure 23b: Average number of students enrolled per institution of higher education, by G_7 country:* various years

Figure 23b

*No data available for Italy and the United Kingdom.

NOTE: See supplemental note to Indicator 23 for country-level sources.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1992, table 227; Digest of Education Statistics, 1993, table 192. Various country sourcessee supplemental note to Indicator 23 for a listing.

See Supplemental Notes on Figure and Tables.


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