In 2015, as part of the PISA tests, 15-year-olds in more than sixty countries were asked whether they had skipped class one or more times in the last two weeks.

The results varied widely, from 3% in Korea to 60% in Montenegro, compared to an OECD average of 20%. Children in Asian countries were less likely to skip school than children in other countries (Japan and Korea 3%, Chinese Taipei 4%, Hong Kong 5%, Macao 6%, and Singapore 15%). Children in Southern and Central American countries were more likely to skip class (Uruguay 52%, Brazil 48%, Colombia 44%, Peru 40%, Costa Rica 39% and Mexico 26%)

Student attendance is a prerequisite for learning at school. In the PISA tests, a 10% increase in the proportion of students missing class corresponds to a 20-point fall in average scores, equivalent to about half a year of learning. Good school management and high quality teaching can reduce absenteeism – some of the best chains of low-cost non-government schools in developing countries have attendance rates above 95%.

Source: PISA 2015, www.oecd.org/pisa