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Education in States and Nations: 1991

(ESN) Indicator 15: Number of schools and school size

A nation or state may have a large number of schools and a small average school size because of a dispersed population, or because of some other, deliberate policy. Schooling could be compartmentalized by level (e.g., preprimary, primary, lower secondary, upper secondary) or by curricular theme (e.g., academic, vocational). These levels and themes may be separated by school or combined. The more they are kept separate, the greater the number of individual schools and the smaller the average school size. 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.


Note on interpretation:

There are marked differences among countries with respect to whether certain programs are classified as belonging to the university, non-university, or upper secondary sector. For example, in some countries, programs leading to qualifications in teaching and nursing are considered to be university programs; in others, they are non-university programs. Furthermore, some vocational and technical programs are classified as non-university higher education in parts of Canada and the United States, whereas they are defined as upper secondary education in most other countries.



Table 14b Processes and Institutions Indicators Figure 15a