Greece has the lowest pupil-teacher ratio in the European Union with an average of 8.7 pupils per teacher, according to a study published by the EU’s statistical body Eurostat on Tuesday.
According to the study, the average number of pupils per teacher at the primary level decreased slightly from 13.6 in 2018 to 13.5 in 2019. The lowest ratios were registered in Greece (8.7), Luxembourg (9.0), and Poland (9.6).
On the other end of the spectrum, Romania maintained the highest pupil-teacher ratio (19.4). France and Czechia followed with ratios of 18.8 and 18.7, respectively.
Eurostat explains that the pupil-teacher ratio is calculated by dividing the number of full-time equivalent pupils by the number of full-time equivalent teachers.
It adds, that the pupil-teacher ratio should not be confused with average class size as it does not take into account special cases, like small size groups of pupils with special needs or specific subject areas, or the difference between the number of hours of teaching provided by teachers and the number of hours of instruction prescribed for pupils.
Eurostat says that in 2019, there were 2.0 million teachers (85% women, 15% men) and 24.5 million pupils at the primary education level in the EU Member States. Children usually enter primary school programs (classified as ISCED level 1) between the ages of 5 and 7.
These programs are designed to give them a solid basic education in reading, writing and mathematics, along with an elementary understanding of other subjects such as history, geography, natural and social sciences, art and music.
Pupil-teacher ratio in Greece small in remote islands
Perhaps, one of the reasons Greece has a low pupil-teacher ratio is because the country has schools in a lot of isolated places — such as the dozens of small islands — where in some cases you have only a couple of pupils per teacher.
Greek Reporter featured recently the primary school at the remote island of Arkioi, near Patmos, where the school has a single pupil, Christos.
The student, is taught by one teacher, Maria-Faidra Tsialera, who requested to be transferred to the island although she was brought up in Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki.
She makes it possible for Christos to be able to stay on the island year-round and receive the normal education that all Greek children are entitled to.
The remote, yet stunningly lovely, island has only 35 year-round inhabitants. Tsialera was recently honored by the Academy of Athens for her dedication and professionalism as she carries out her job teaching all the subjects Christos studies.