14 students per teacher in primary schools in Finland
Finland ranks below the European average in student to teacher ratio in primary education level.
According to the latest data produced by the statistical office of the European Union (Eurostat), in 2017 there were 29.3 million pupils and 2.2 million teachers at primary education level in the all 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 them 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.
Figures vary depending on the Member States
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).
In Finland the student to teacher ratio is below the EU average: 13.7, according to the data collected by Eurostat. Finland's ratio becomes even lower in the next educational level, the lower secondary education, in which there are 8.9 pupils per teacher. After that, it increases significantly.
Eurostat explained that 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.