In some countries and economies, such as Beijing-Shanghai-Jiangsu-Guangdong (China), Qatar,Thailand, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, students spend at least 54 hours per week learning at and outside of school combined, whereas in others, like Finland, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Uruguay, students spend less than 40 hours studying.
Students in Australia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland show the best balance between total learning time and academic performance.
In school systems where students spend more time in regular science lessons, average science scores are higher; but when students spend more time studying science after school, average science scores are lower.
Studying more hours does not necessarily lead to better learning outcomes
The bottom line
It is difficult to tell how much time students should spend learning, but it seems
clear that many students are spending too much time studying after school – at
least more than it seems reasonable if they want to lead a balanced life. Studying
and learning after school might not only be inequitable, depending on the quality
and availability of after-school learning opportunities, it might also be a lessefficient
way of meeting challenging academic standards than learning in regular
school lessons. To help students avoid spending a disproportionate amount of
time doing homework, receiving additional instruction and studying after school,
policy makers, schools, teachers, parents and students should redouble their
efforts to make students’ learning time at school more productive.