School Life Expectancy: What the World Can Learn From Belgium?

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Education is an important parameter in the overall progress of the nation. A robust educational infrastructure which produces a well-read and informative populace is an indication that the nation is on the path of progress. But nations that have not been able to comprehend the importance of education due to factors such as poverty, political and economic instability, or violence, have been generally lagging behind.

There are a number of factors that are essential to building a strong education system in a country. Some of these are: Infrastructure, such as school building and other amenities; well-qualified teachers, and government spending on education, to name a few. But equally important is the school life expectancy (SLE).

Defined in simple terms, SLE is the number of years that a person of a school entrance age can expect to spend within the specified level (primary and secondary) of education. In nations, which have a high level of school life expectancy, there is a greater probability for students to spend more years in education and also higher overall retention within the educational system.

According to the UNESCO figures of the 2014, the European nation of Belgium, Norfolk Island, Australia, and the United Kingdom had a school life expectancy (primary and secondary education) of a little over 15 years. This means that the number of years of schooling that a child can expect to receive in these European nations is over 15 years.

In fact, a majority of the European nations had 12 and above according to the data. In the United States, where the quality of education is fairly high, the school life expectancy at the primary and secondary level was 11.81, whereas in India, which is known for its competitive school environment, it was 10.59.

The African nations such as Eritrea, Nigeria, Djibouti, Mali and Burkina Faso witnessed a school life expectancy of less than 8 years, which is fairly low as compared to developed nations.

(Data sourced from UNESCO)

Countries School Life Expectancy (Years), 2014
Belgium 15.8
Norfolk Island 15.74
Australia 15.29
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 15.15
Denmark 14.89
Sweden 14.71
Finland 14.46
Ireland 14.44
Nicaragua 14.17
Netherlands Antilles 14.16
Spain 13.76
Oman 13.72
Thailand 13.61
Slovenia 13.52
Palestine 13.5
Portugal 13.4
Brunei Darussalam 13.38
Italy 13.25
Liechtenstein 13.21
Germany 13.2
Czech Republic 13.18
Switzerland 13.17
Saudi Arabia 13.14
Ecuador 13.13
Argentina 13.06
France 13.04
Mauritius 12.97
Luxembourg 12.95
Timor-Leste 12.93
Georgia 12.92
Tunisia 12.91
Suriname 12.76
Brazil 12.68
Latvia 12.65
Tonga 12.65
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 12.57
Samoa 12.54
Lithuania 12.54
Costa Rica 12.49
Hungary 12.44
Estonia 12.41
Cook Islands 12.41
Israel 12.4
Cabo Verde 12.25
Albania 12.24
Grenada 12.24
Slovakia 12.22
Greece 12.2
Bhutan 12.18
Japan 12.18
Uruguay 12.18
Chile 11.99
Seychelles 11.93
Croatia 11.93
Antigua and Barbuda 11.91
Cyprus 11.87
Austria 11.85
Cuba 11.85
Malta 11.83
United States of America 11.81
British Virgin Islands 11.8
China 11.76
Bulgaria 11.75
Mexico 11.75
Kazakhstan 11.74
Uzbekistan 11.7
Iran (Islamic Republic of) 11.7
Serbia 11.63
Sao Tome and Principe 11.62
Kuwait 11.62
Malaysia 11.61
Colombia 11.6
El Salvador 11.57
Tuvalu 11.55
Belize 11.52
Malawi 11.51
Netherlands 11.43
Egypt 11.41
Belarus 11.4
Nepal 11.31
Indonesia 11.31
Benin 11.3
Swaziland 11.27
China, Macao Special Administrative Region 11.19
Ukraine 11.12
Barbados 11.09
Russian Federation 10.98
Bolivia (Plurinational State of) 10.95
Peru 10.89
Cameroon 10.88
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 10.81
Dominican Republic 10.79
Jordan 10.79
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) 10.66
Burundi 10.65
Comoros 10.64
Kyrgyzstan 10.63
Ghana 10.59
India 10.59
Rwanda 10.55
Saint Kitts and Nevis 10.45
Turkmenistan 10.4
Panama 10.36
Bermuda 10.33
Madagascar 10.23
Puerto Rico 10.2
Afghanistan 10.1
Lesotho 10.09
Honduras 9.96
Lao People’s Democratic Republic 9.83
Republic of Moldova 9.77
Guatemala 9.5
Lebanon 9.32
Uganda 9.3
Myanmar 9.27
Liberia 9.22
Democratic Republic of the Congo 9.03
Côte d’Ivoire 8.32
Guinea 8.25
Mauritania 8.22
Namibia 8.07
Palau 7.59
Burkina Faso 7.55
Mali 7.17
Djibouti 6.66
Nigeria 5.58
Eritrea 5.2


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