The Best Length for Summer Break?


It is commonly known amongst students, especially those living internationally, that schools around the world have different lengths of breaks. Depending on where you find yourself across the globe, the seasons and holidays will affect the way the school year is set up. This, coupled with the jealousy of my cousins having three whole months of summer break, made me want to look into the summer breaks around the world and ultimately decide, whether those 3 months are as good as they look. 

As mentioned above, different countries have different lengths of school years depending on whether they are found in the southern or northern hemisphere. Additionally the culture and major religion of the country can have an effect on the breaks. There are also cases, such as Germany, in which the different states or provinces have different lengths of summer breaks. Students in Germany have summer breaks averaging at around six and a half weeks, staggered between June and late September. Similarly, Australian students have a summer break of 6 weeks, however, being in the southern hemisphere, this takes place in December and January. 

In contrast to this, there are countries around the world that have much longer breaks, ranging between 2 and 3 months. These would be countries such as Ireland, the United states, Sweden, Romania, Pakistan or Mexico. One would assume that students returning to school after the break would experience increased summer learning loss, regardless of how rigorous the schooling might be. According to studies done in the US, this does seem to be the case. 

Summer learning loss is a problem that more often affects students from low income families that cannot always afford a summer learning program. However, studies have shown that those are not strictly necessary for improving the learning gap. Additionally, depending on the resources available to each family, they aren’t even that effective. More advanced learning programs with higher costs tend to do better on average, yet those catered towards lower income households bring about little change according to an analysis done by Cooper and colleagues in 2000. At home learning programs are significantly cheaper and often more accessible, and can aid a student as much as a classroom based program over the summer. Some researchers agree that extending the school year from its original 180 days to something such as 260 days would be more beneficial. This would also aid teachers in making sure that all the topics would be covered.

While I’m sure everyone has experienced that moment of blanking on the first day back, I must say that the six to eight week summer I previously experienced growing up wasn’t that bad. Sure, as students we envy those with a longer summer break, but I sure do not envy those boring summer days that drag into weeks of doing nothing but staying at home. Or those students whose parents make them go to summer school since they have so much time to spare.