In 2017, at primary education level, there were 29.3 million pupils and 2.2 million teachers in the EU Member States. Generally speaking, pupils enter primary school programmes (classified as ISCED level 1) between the ages of 5 and 7. These programmes are typically designed to give pupils a sound 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.
Across the EU, the average number of pupils per teacher at primary level in 2017 was 14.7, though the figures vary across EU Member States. The highest pupil-teacher ratios were reported in France (19.6), Romania (19.4) and Czechia (19.1).
At the other end of the range, the lowest ratios were recorded in Luxembourg (9.0), Greece (9.4) and Lithuania (10.6).
The pupil-teacher ratio is calculated by dividing the number of full-time equivalent pupils by the number of full-time equivalent teachers teaching at ISCED level 1. The pupil-teacher ratio should not be confused with average class size as it does not take into account special cases, like the small size of groups of special needs pupils 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.
For more information on the different levels of education covered by the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), please see the ISCED manual.
For more information:
- Eurostat Statistics Explained articles on education and training
- Eurostat database on education and training
- The source data can be found in Eurostat dataset educ_uoe_perp04 (ratio), dataset educ_uoe_perp01 (teachers) and dataset educ_uoe_enrp05 (pupils).
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