First day of school

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Students on their first day of school.

The first day of school is the first day of an academic year. The timing varies between different areas around the world because of the differences in weather, climate, season, law and culture. A common pattern in North America and Europe is for school to begin in late August or early September, while in the southern hemisphere mid January to early February is common, with a few countries[which?] near the equator having a September start. It is most common in Canada, and parts of the US to start school the day after Labor Day.

The Americas[edit]

Argentina[edit]

The first day of school in Argentina is on the last Monday of February or the first Monday of March, depending on the year. High school usually begins one week later than elementary school.

Barbados[edit]

The first day of school is on the third week of September.

Brazil[edit]

The school year usually begins during February and as late as March for some universities. It's usual to have a 2–3 weeks recess by the mid of the year and an ending by mid December.

Canada[edit]

The first day of school, in most provinces, is on the Tuesday after the first Monday in September (the day after Labour Day), but varies based on the individual school boards. In some areas, including Newfoundland and Labrador, school begins for faculty and staff on the day after Labour Day, but students are not required to attend class until the day after.

In Quebec, CEGEP students typically start school the third week of August. University students start school between the first and the second week of September. Elementary and high school students start back the last week of August, anywhere from Tuesday - Thursday and on the rare occasion will start after Labour Day, depending on the school year.

In Edmonton, three specific Catholic schools start at the third week of August. The rest of schools will start at the second week of September, and on rare occasions, these schools may have to start after Labour Day, depending on the school year.

Chile[edit]

The first day of school in Chile is on March 1, or the first Monday following if March 1 is a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Costa Rica[edit]

The first day of school in Costa Rica is in early February. The Education Ministry changes the date every year to ensure 200 effective days are in the school calendar.[1]

Ecuador[edit]

School in the Highlands region on Ecuador follows almost the same format as the USA, with the school year starting in September and ending between May and June, with most preschools ending a couple of weeks earlier

The school year in The Costal, Amazon and Galápagos regions start between the last half of April and the very first week of May and they end at the middle to end of the month of February while for some private schools the school year ends at the start of February. Most preschools for these 3 regions end at the end of January/start of February

Guatemala[edit]

The first day of school in Guatemala begins on the second Monday in January.

Honduras[edit]

For schools that have adopted the American school calendar, the first day of school in Honduras is August 1, or the first Monday following if August 1 is a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, but, for the vast majority of schools, the first day is usually at the beginning of February.

Mexico[edit]

The first day of school in Mexico begins on the second to last Monday in August.

Originally, the school cycle began on September 2, one day after the beginning of the Legislative activities, but this changed in order to allow more time for academics, therefore extending the school year to begin two weeks before September 2 and to end two weeks after June 30.

United States[edit]

It is hard to generalize the first day of school for the United States because there are 50 different states each with many districts which all start school on different days. When the first day of school is and what happens on the first day of school usually vary by region. School tends to start a few weeks earlier in the west than the east.

The first day of school for many school districts in various states is on the day after Labor Day (first Monday in September). On that day, public transportation services increase and start the rush hour earlier. In some other school districts, school begins in mid- to late August. For instance, the Denver, Colorado metro area schools go back in mid-August and schools in the Cleveland, Ohio metro area start back usually one week before Labor Day. Schools in Arkansas usually start around the fifteenth of August. The Boston, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, and San Diego school districts start back the Tuesday or Wednesday after Labor Day, though in the case of the latter, the first day of school has been recently moved to the end of August.[2] School districts in Texas usually start on the 4th Monday or Tuesday of August.

Schools in Cleveland, Ohio used to start the school year the day after Labor Day, but in the 1976-77 and 1977-78 academic years, the school year was affected by several bad blizzards, brutal cold, and an energy crisis. In the 1977-78 school year, many school districts had to extend the school year almost to June 20. In the 1978-79 school year, the Ohio General Assembly and the Ohio Department of Education moved the start of the year to late August, one week before Labor Day. This went into effect beginning in the 1980-81 academic year.

In most school districts in Utah, the school year starts between August 25 and August 30, and goes until the last week of May or the first week in June.

Most schools in Indiana return to school in the first week of August, but there are a growing number of schools that are beginning the school year in late July. Almost all schools are out of session by the start of May and see many week or two week long breaks dispersed throughout the school year.

Often the first day of school in the U.S. is a short day. In American high schools, the freshmen class usually goes back one or two days before the rest of the school body for an orientation period. An orientation session helps the freshmen students get acquainted with their new school, its rules, and surroundings. Also during this time, many incoming freshmen may take a small study-skills like class to help them orient themselves to high school. In some schools, the freshmen class have their photographs taken for identification purposes. Some high schools have attempted to make the first week of school fun for incoming freshmen, like by having luncheons and/or letting freshmen pick their lockers. Freshmen athletes and band members may have camps or barbecues to meet new classmates or teammates; some sports coaches may require all freshmen players to train early for fall sports season. In recent years, many high school sports associations have started fall sports before the official first day of school. In elementary schools, the first day of school usually is one week of a staggered schedule, i.e. instead of leaving school at 2:45PM, the student may be dismissed at 12:00PM. Also many schools do not start school lunch until the following week. Also school busing can be limited.

Some high schools have students come in for "schedule night" where students can check their classes.

Some high schools require summer reading; reading-related projects or tests that must be submitted or taken during the first week of school.

In recent years, many districts and schools have invited parents to meet the teachers one week before school opens on events called "meet the teachers night". Usually this event is held in the evenings for parental convenience.

Uruguay[edit]

The first day of school usually begins between the two first Mondays of March, depending on the year, with high school beginning a week later.

Africa[edit]

Algeria[edit]

The first day of school in Algeria is usually on the first Sunday of September, or the second if the first Sunday of September is Eid.

Democratic Republic of Congo[edit]

The first day of school in DRC is usually the first Monday of September. If the first Monday is the 1st then the first day is one week later.

Egypt[edit]

The first day of school in Egypt is usually around the beginning or middle of September.

Ethiopia[edit]

The first day of school in Ethiopia is on September 11 which is Ethiopian new year, or the first Monday following if September 11 is a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Kenya[edit]

The first day of school in southern Kenya is usually on the second Monday after New Year's Day in early January. In northern Kenya, the first day of school is on September 1, or the first Monday following if September 1 is a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, for those schools not following the Kenyan system of education.

Nigeria[edit]

The first day of school in Nigeria is on September 1, or the first Monday following if September 1 is a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Somalia[edit]

The first day of school in Somalia is September 1, or the first Saturday following if September 1 is a Friday.

South Africa[edit]

School begins in mid-January.

South Sudan[edit]

In South Sudan, school starts on March 20.

Tanzania[edit]

The first day of school in Tanzania is in the second week of January, usually a Monday.

Tunisia[edit]

The back to school day is 15 September, it's often delayed if it falls during Eid or if it's between Thursday and Sunday.

Asia[edit]

China[edit]

The first day of school in the China falls on 1 September, or the first Monday following if September 1 is a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. In northeastern China, schools open on Monday in mid-August after summer vacation.

Hong Kong[edit]

The first day of school in Hong Kong falls on 1 September or the first Monday following if 1 September is a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. On that day, public transportation service companies increase the frequency and start the rush hour earlier.

India[edit]

The first day of school in India for the State board following schools falls in mid-June. CBSE Board schools begin the new academic year in March/April, and have school till mid May ending, after which they have summer vacation till the end of June. CBSE board schools continue with their academic year in July while non-CBSE board schools begin their new academic year in mid-June, after vacation. In some States of the India, school starts on May 31 (Karnataka State).

Iran[edit]

The first day of school in Iran falls on September 22 or 23 which is Mehr 1st in Persian calendar and the first day of autumn (fall). Schools run up to June 20 (last day of spring). Schools are closed during the Nowruz holidays for thirteen days (March 20 - April 1). Universities might have slightly different schedule and they might reopen up to one week later than September 22.

Israel[edit]

The first day of school in Israel falls on September 1, or a day later if it's on Saturday. Some schools in Israel don't teach on Friday or Sunday as well which also affects the date. In 2012 and 2013 the first day of school was on August 27 due to the variable Jewish holidays which fell on the beginning of September.

Japan[edit]

In Japan, the start date for the school year falls on April 1, or the first Monday following if April 1 is a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Laos[edit]

In Laos, the first day of school is on September 1, or the first Monday following if September 1 is a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Lebanon[edit]

Normally, the first day of school in Lebanon falls on the first Monday of October.

Malaysia[edit]

The first day of school in Malaysia falls on or soon after 3 January, almost always on a Monday, but Tuesday if Monday is a public holiday.

Mongolia[edit]

In Mongolia, the first day of school falls on September 1, or the first Monday following if September 1 is a Saturday or Sunday.

Myanmar[edit]

The first day of school in Myanmar falls on the 2nd Wednesday in September.

Oman[edit]

The first day of school in Oman is in the beginning of September.

Philippines[edit]

The first day of school in the Philippines is usually on any of the first Monday (public schools) or second Monday (private schools) in June. Private schools may begin a day or two later, while international schools follow the Western custom.

Qatar[edit]

The first day of school in Qatar is on September 15, with some of the Arab World countries.[3]

Saudi Arabia[edit]

The first day of school in Saudi Arabia is in the beginning of September.

Singapore[edit]

The school year for all Singapore primary and secondary schools will start from early January and end sometime in November. This takes into account 40 weeks of curriculum time for teaching and learning before the start of the national examinations, and six weeks of school vacation at end of year for teachers and students.[4]

South Korea[edit]

In South Korea, the start date for the school year falls on March 2 or the first Monday following if March 2 is a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, as March 1 is a national holiday.

Taiwan[edit]

The first day of school in the China (Taiwan) falls on September 1, or the first Monday following if September 1 is a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Thailand[edit]

The school year in Thailand generally starts in early May for public schools, whilst international schools normally follow an international school calendar which commences in early August or September.

Turkey[edit]

The school year in Turkey starts on the third week of September for most schools.

United Arab Emirates[edit]

The first day of school in the United Arab Emirates differs because of the festivals like Eid and Ramadan. Otherwise the first day of school is in the first 15 days of September. CBSE syllabus schools begin on the early days of April for the new academic year.

Europe[edit]

Armenia[edit]

The first day of school in Armenia is on September 1, or the first Monday following if September 1 is a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Austria[edit]

The first day of school in Austria varies between states, for Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland it is the first Monday in September, for the rest one week later.

Belgium[edit]

The first day of school in Belgium is on September 1, or the first Monday following if September 1 is a Saturday or Sunday.

Bulgaria[edit]

The first day of school in Bulgaria is September 15 or the first Monday after it. Usually students bring flowers to the teachers. The students do not study on this day. There is usually a ceremony in the school.

Croatia[edit]

The first day of school in Croatia is the first Monday in September.

Czech Republic[edit]

The first day of school in the Czech Republic is on September 1, or the first Monday following if September 1 is a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Denmark[edit]

The first day of school in Denmark is usually Monday in week 33 (around August 13).

Estonia and Latvia[edit]

The first day of school is on Knowledge Day, September 1.

Finland[edit]

The first day of school is on the first half of August.

France[edit]

The first day of school (rentrée) may change but is almost always around the September 1. Usually one day before the students, the teachers go back to school to prepare the school year and to introduce new teachers (pré-rentrée). Many others economic fields are based on the scholar calendar such as public transportation (end of the summer services on September 1), TV or radio schedules, re-opening of public services (slightly before September 1, generally one week before).

Germany[edit]

The first day of school in Germany varies in a coordinated fashion between the individual states to avoid excessive traffic volume due to vacation traveling. Usually, it is in August or early September.

Greece[edit]

The first day of school in Greece is September 11, or the first Monday following if September 11 is a Saturday or Sunday.[5]

Hungary[edit]

The first day of school in Hungary is on September 1.

Ireland[edit]

The first day of school in Ireland is usually on the first Monday on or after September 1. When September 1 falls on a Tuesday, some schools start on August 31, though most schools still start on September 1.

Italy[edit]

The first day of school in Italy is on September and it varies among regions, but it is usually between the September 10 and September 20. Rarely, schools require that students attend the week before the official start date.

Lithuania[edit]

The first day of school is on Knowledge Day, September 1. It is usually shorter.

Macedonia[edit]

The first day of school in Macedonia is on September 1, or the first Monday after that. The first school day is usually shorter and students are given their yearly schedule.

Moldova[edit]

The first day of school in Moldova is always on September 1, or the first Monday following if September 1 is a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Poland[edit]

The first day of school in Poland is always on September 1, or the first Monday following if September 1 is a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Romania[edit]

The first day of school in Romania is on September 15, or the first Monday following if September 15 is a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Russia[edit]

Schools in Russia historically begin on Knowledge Day, September 1. This exact date for the country has been fixed by the Decree of the Council of the People's Commissars in 1935[6] and was established officially by the Decree of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union No. 3018-X in 1980.[7] If it falls on Sunday, most schools opt to hold on Sunday a traditional ceremonial line-up, which symbolically commences the school year, and begin actual lessons on Monday.

Slovakia[edit]

The first day of school in Slovakia is on September 2, as there is a public holiday on the first.

Slovenia[edit]

The first day of school in Slovenia is usually on September 1, unless it is a Friday or the weekend.

United Kingdom[edit]

England and Wales[edit]

The first day of school in England and Wales varies by local authority and sometimes by school, but it is nearly always during the first week of September, or otherwise in the second week.

Scotland[edit]

The school term in Scotland begins in late August, more than a week earlier than in the rest of the UK. The precise date varies by local authority and sometimes by school.

Oceania[edit]

Australia[edit]

The school year starts in late-January, but the dates vary depending on the type of school (public, private, etc.), the state (New South Wales, Victoria, etc.) and the region (e.g. eastern or western division). Most schools start on the first Monday after Australia Day, January 26. When Australia Day falls on a Monday or Tuesday, school usually recommences the day after (i.e. January 27). If Australia Day falls on a Wednesday or Thursday, school return is usually postponed to the next Monday. Many private schools choose to start a few days to a week later than public schools to allow teachers additional time for curriculum planning.

Tasmania[edit]

Tasmanians have a longer summer holiday break than mainland Australia, resulting in the school year beginning on the first Wednesday in February.

Queensland[edit]

Queensland students start school the week of Australia Day (January 26), whichever day of the week Australia Day falls, they will start at the beginning of that week.

New Zealand[edit]

The school year starts between late January and early February.

References[edit]