A group of young children getting on the schoolbus; Shutterstock Shutterstock
From tots to teenagers, students head back to school this week, waving goodbye to parents as they board bright yellow buses or say a teary bon voyage as they head off to a faraway university.
An estimated five million children will flood through the doors of elementary or secondary school in Canada this year, where they'll learn everything from counting to calculus.
By comparison, about two million sign up each year for classes at an institution of higher education such as a university or college.
Those entering universities will be schooled by 45,000 full-time professors who will test their charges note-taking capabilities, sometimes in massive lecture halls.
Nearly 10 times as many grade school teachers — about 396,000 full- and part-time — will watch over classes of elementary and secondary school pupils.
When it comes to the costs, parents will spend an average of nearly $1,400 on their children's education, whether it's for pencil crayons, the works of Aristotle or anything that falls under the Statistics Canada category for education spending.
Those in university face steep tuition fees. The average tuition now costs $5,772. Dentists-in-training pay the most, at a whopping $17,300, while future educators fork over the least, at $4,400 for teachers' college.
By the time they reach university, nearly all students will have cellphones. But even the young ones won't be sent to school without a way for parents to reach them.
An estimated one-quarter of Grade 4 students have their own cellphone. For Grade 7 students, that proportion rises to half, and by Grade 11, it's 85 per cent.
When it comes to time spent in the classroom, university students typically spend the least, with only 15 in-class hours per week.
But with an average 17 hours outside the classroom spent on reading textbooks and working on assignments, the hours on academics adds up to a grand total of 32. Never mind the average of 18 hours of paid work many will be doing on top of that to help with tuition costs.
While it's not known how many elementary or secondary students are spending outside of class on homework, researchers don't recommend much. A mere 10 minutes per day per grade level of homework, so 80 minutes for Grade 8, should suffice, they say.
What we do know is once school's underway for a few weeks, students will no doubt be itching for the next holiday. That won't be for a while.
It'll be six weeks before students get their first day off on Thanksgiving on Oct. 13. Parents waiting for a visit home from their faraway young scholars, however, face up to 16 weeks before the Christmas holidays bring them back, laundry and gifts in hand.
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