When Should the School Year Begin and End?
I finished both basic and college education in the Philippines before heading to the US for graduate studies. Finishing the school year sometime in late March or early April means a slightly longer vacation since school starts in late August or early September in the US. School ends in late May or early June implies that someone coming to the US to study in the Philippines needs to settle with only a few weeks of summer vacation. With teacher training sessions, even with a lack of synchronization among countries, it is still however possible to find a week or two during which no country has school days.
Although the Philippines stands out among ASEAN countries with regard to the scheduling of the school year, there are countries in Asia or other parts of the world that do not have a September to May school year. Here are some examples (from World Stats and Facts):
- Japan: Most Japanese schools run on a trimester schedule. The academic year begins in April and ends the following March, with breaks for summer, winter and spring separating the three terms.
- Costa Rica: The school year in Costa Rica runs from February to December. Students have vacation for about two months, from December to February, and a few weeks off in July.
- South Korea: The school year in South Korea typically runs from March to February. The year is divided into two semesters (March to July and September to February).
- Australia: Students in Australia attend school for 200 days a year. Their school year lasts from late January to mid December. Since Australia is in the southern hemisphere, it experiences summer while it’s winter in the northern hemisphere. Summer vacation for Australian students is from mid December to late January.
Cooper, H., Charlton, K., Valentine, J. C., & Muhlenbruck, L. (2000). Making the most of summer school. A meta-analytic and narrative review. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 65 (1, Serial No. 260), 1-118.
Cooper, H., Nye, B., Charlton, K., Lindsay, J., & Greathouse, S. (1996). The effects of summer vacation on achievement test scores: A narrative and meta-analytic review. Review of Educational Research, 66, 227-268.