Primary education: listening and observing
Primary education: listening and observing

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Primary education: listening and observing

4 Homework around the world

A survey of more than 27,000 parents in 29 countries found a quarter of parents worldwide spend seven or more hours a week helping their children with homework (Varkey Foundation, 2018).

Parents in India helped the most, spending an average of 12 or more hours each week helping with homework and reading to their children. Parents in Japan spent the least, at about 2.6 hours. Parents in the USA spent 6.2 hours, just below the global average of 6.7 hours.

But the survey also found that children whose parents help a lot with their homework did not perform any better on tests than children who do their homework all by themselves. Educationalists generally agree it's important that parents at least know what their children are working on and how much time it's taking them to complete it. Taking an interest in a child's homework also helps to create a home in which learning is valued.

While a quarter (25%) of parents worldwide spend 7 or more hours a week helping their children with their education, this figure rises to 62% in India, 50% in Vietnam and 39% in Colombia. Parents in richer nations are spending less time, with only 5% spending 7 or more hours a week in Finland, 10% in France and Japan, and 11% in the UK. Parents in lower income economies are more likely to spend significant amounts of time helping their children outside the classroom than those in established economies. The most commonly occurring reason that parents don’t help their children – cited by over half of parents (52%) across the survey – is lack of time.

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