WHO warns: children have too many duties

In the field of education, the issue of homework it is an important point and object of debate between parents and teachers. Beyond the classrooms, school education arrives outside the walls of the school through homework so that students can continue learning at home. Without doubt, these extracurricular practices are fundamental for children to assimilate what they have learned in school.

But where is the limit? Can the homework to cross the border of education and become an object of oppression for schoolchildren? According to the latest publication of the World Health Organization, WHO, yes. The study conducted under the WHO umbrella by Health Behavior in School-aged Children reveals that most of the young people in Spain claim to feel pressured by the duties.

The pressure begins after 11 years

This study involved 220,000 young people from all over Europe, of which 11,136 have Spanish nationality. Among these respondents, Spain stands out as one of the countries where participants say they feel more burdened by homework. It is significant that from the age of 11 schoolchildren in our country there are a large number of young people who state that homework causes a feeling of pressure in them.

Specifically, at age 11, approximately 34% of boys and 25% of girls say they feel overwhelmed by homework. A figure that exceeds the average that has been set at this point by 24% for the male gender and 22% for the female. These figures increase drastically at the age of 13, where 53% of boys and 55% of girls say they feel pressure for school work.

It is at 15 years where the percentage is higher. At this age, 70% of teenagers say they feel this pressure for homework, this percentage is 60% in boys. Again these numbers again exceed the average set in this group which is around 51% for female students and 39% for boys. In fact Spain is the fourth country in this ranking and is only surpassed by Malta, Scotland and Iceland.

Spain is the fifth country in Europe with the highest volume of duties

These data are not the result of chance. And is that according to the PISA report Spain spends 1.6 hours a week more than in the rest of Europe to perform homework. In this same study, our country is designated as the fifth country with the highest volume of duties in a list of 38 nations. According to the data, in Spain an average of 6.5 hours per week is devoted to tasks at home.

A number that is only surpassed by Poland with 6.6 hours per week, Ireland with 7.3 hours, Italy with 8.7 hours and Russia with 9.7 hours. The remoteness of other countries participating in the PISA study such as Finland, where the weekly hours devoted to homework are of 2.8, is striking. or South Korea where this figure stands at 2.9.

This volume of homework has caused several people have started to try to remedy this workload in students. "For the rationalization of the duties in the Spanish educational system" is the title of the signature petition initiative of Eva Bailén on the Change.org platform. In this petition it is affirmed that this volume of duties depends on the "teacher that the student has" and that in some occasions this does not understand that the child has to "play, rest or be with his parents".

Bailén adds in this petition that he does not ask for a cessation of the duties but a "rationalization of the same" and adds that "there is no justification for a child to dedicate so many hours of his time after the school day to performing tasks many times mechanically." At the moment this petition has 204,332 signatories that seek to reduce the level of tasks that students take home from school or the institute.

Damián Montero

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