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Give kids less homework over Christmas, says minister

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Give kids less homework over Christmas, says minister
Photo: Depositphotos
09:56 CET+01:00
Italy’s Education Minister is asking schools to reduce the amount of homework over the holidays so that children can spend more time with family.

Education Minister Marco Bussetti, from the far-right League, is sending out a letter this week telling schools and teachers not to overload students at this time of year.

"I'd like to raise the awareness of the teachers and schools about a time of rest for students and families, so that the homework for the Christmas holidays is reduced," Bussetti said during a meeting with Italy's watchdog for children's rights.

"Homework weighs heavily on family commitments and so I'd like to give a signal,” he said. “I'm thinking of these festive days and the children and their families wanting to spend them together".

READ ALSO: Italians study more than their peers but do worse at school: OECD

Italy’s education minister has urged schools not to overburden children with homework during the Christmas holiday so they can spend more time with their families.

Bussetti said he wanted to encourage school governors and teaching staff to reflect on the workload and allow children to use their free time for other activities.

Italian students are given an average of 8.7 hours of homework every week according to a 2016 Business Insider survey. The only country where children get more homework is Russia, with 9.7 hours.

The United States took third place, with 6.1 hours of homework each week.

At the the other end of the scale, a separate study by the OECD found that the students with the least homework globally were in Finland, with 2.8 hours per week, and South Korea, with 2.9 hours.

And Italy's three-month summer holiday is often seen as excessive, especially when compared with some other European countries.

Across the border in France, pupils are given eight weeks outside the classroom, while in Germany there are around six weeks of summer holidays.

Bussetti’s comments are in line with his party’s focus on traditional family values.

Last month, Bussetti supported a call for crucifixes to be displayed in all Italian schools and for nativity scenes to be installed in the run-up to Christmas, saying both were part of the Italian “identity.”

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