Teenagers in the UAE spend an average of 6.2 hours a week on homework, according to a new study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This is under half what their counterparts in Shanghai spend on after school work (a whopping 14 hours a week) but double what students in Finland complete.
The study was completed among all of the countries that participate in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). In the most recent PISA studies released in December of last year the UAE was placed 45th out of 65 countries.
According to the report’s authors while there are many factors that contribute to student success, homework assigned can be an indicator of PISA test scores for individuals and individual schools. In the individual schools in some regions—Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, and Singapore—that earned the highest math scores in 2012, students saw an increase of 17 score points or more per extra hour of homework.
The report also notes, however, that while individuals may benefit from homework, a school system’s overall performance relies more on other factors, such as instructional quality and how schools are organized.
Teachers assign 15-year-olds around world an average of five hours of homework each week. Within countries, the amount of time students spend on homework varies based on family income: Economically advantaged students spend an average of 1.6 hours more on homework per week than economically disadvantaged students. This might be because wealthier students are likely to have the resources for a quiet place to study at home, and may get more encouragement and emphasis on their studies from parents, writes Marilyn Achiron, editor for OECD’s Directorate for Education and Skills.
Andreas Schleicher, the OECD's director of education,said schools could help to bridge the gap by providing a space in school where pupils could do their homework.
There could also be advice for parents to help them "motivate their children to finish their homework". "The homework still has to get done, but maybe students and their parents will find it a little less troublesome," he said.