New school year starts for nearly 446,000 pupils

The new school year started on Monday for 445,800 primary and secondary school pupils, including 12,373 that are participating in an experimental all-day-schooling programme in 62 primary schools.

According to Science and Education Ministry data, 300,300 pupils are attending primary and 145,000 pupils are attending secondary school in the 2023-24 school year.

It is estimated that 35,000 pupils are beginning school this year, down from 35,794 last year and from 37,000 two years ago. Also, 39,961 students enrolled in the first grade of secondary school, 500 less than last year but more than two years ago, when 38,229 enrolled.

The experimental programme of all day schooling, aimed at providing equal education opportunities for all students and enhancing their competencies, which are below the European average, will be conducted in the next four years and refers to pupils in grades 1-8.

As of 2027, when more schools are built and schools are ready for single-shift work, it is expected to be implemented in all schools.

The plan is for students in selected schools to spend more time at school, with more hours of instruction in individual subjects, additional subjects and additional activities, including doing homework.

Among these changes is the introduction of an alternative to religious instruction, called “The World and I”, to be taught to pupils in grades 1-8, while pupils in grades 1-4 will be taught Practical Skills. Information and Digital Competencies will become a mandatory subject for grades 1-8.

The first half of the school year lastsВ until 22 December 2023 and the second from 8 January to 21 June next year.

The autumn break will beВ from 30 October to 1 November, the first part of winter break from 27 December to 5 January and the second from 19 to 23 February, while spring break will be from 28 March to 5 April.