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In most countries, the academic year begins in early autumn and ends during the following summer. In Southern Hemisphere countries, this means that the academic year lasts from February or March to November or December; in Northern Hemisphere countries, it lasts from August, September or October to May, June or July. The summer may or may not be part of the term system.
A 'semester' (from the Latin meaning "six-monthly", or Semi-, half) has come to mean either of two academic terms, generally excluding the summer or January terms, if any, and so can be 14 to 20 weeks long. The word 'semester' is sometimes used as a synonym for a 'term', as in a 'summer semester'.
A 'trimester' (from the Latin meaning "three-monthly") divides the academic year into three periods. At the University of Michigan, for example, the Fall trimester (informally still called 'semester') operates from September through December; the Winter trimester runs from January through April; and the Spring-Summer trimester operates from May through August, as two half-trimesters. Most Spring-Summer classes either meet double-time for 7 – 8 weeks in May and June or double-time/double-plus-time for 6 – 8 weeks in July and August (with summer half-term classes sometimes starting in the last week of June). In some jurisdictions,[specify] "trimester" is used in its original meaning to indicate a quarter system (since three months is exactly a quarter of a year), or a variation of it.
A 'quarter' or 'quadmester' system treats the summer term on an equal footing with the other terms. It divides the academic year into four quarters, each of which is usually 12 weeks long. Three of the four quarters - Fall, Winter and Spring, operating from September through June or August through May, are thus equivalent to two 18-week semesters. Thus, when American academic universities convert academic credits between the semester/trimester and quarter systems, 36 quarter hours convert to 24 semester hours (2/3 conversion factor) while 36 semester hours convert to 54 quarter hours (3/2 conversion factor).
In most of Australia, the primary and secondary school year typically lasts from late January or early February to mid-December, and is split into four terms:
Terms 4&1 (rolled over) and 2&3 are respectively usually deemed 'summer' and 'winter' for purposes of sports participation and uniform standards. Australian states and territories vary their approach to Easter when determining the dates for the holiday at the end of Term 1.
The exact dates vary from year to year, as well as between states, and for public and private school. In Tasmania until and including 2012, the school year is split into three terms, the first one being the longest and including an extended Easter holiday. However, in 2013 Tasmania will introduce a four-term year, to conform to the rest of the country. The terms are separated by a holiday lasting two weeks with the Christmas/Summer holidays between the end of a school year and the start of another lasting six weeks.
Most Australian universities have two semesters a year, but Bond University has three. Many universities offer an optional short summer semester. One recent innovation in Australian higher education has been the establishment of the fully distance–online Open Universities Australia (formerly Open Learning Australia) that offers continuous study opportunities of individual units of study (what are called courses in North America) that can lead to full degree qualifications.
Open Universities Australia operates four 13-week study periods each year. Since students study only part-time and off campus these study periods mesh reasonably easily with existing university offerings based on semesters. In some cases, a "semester" is referred to as a "Study Period", for example by Centrelink.
The Austrian school year for primary and secondary schools is split into two terms, the first one starts on the first Monday in September in the states of Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland and on the second Monday of September in Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia, Tyrol and Vorarlberg. Most schools have holidays between the national holiday on October 26 and All Souls Day on November 2, but those are unofficial holidays not observed by all schools in Austria. Christmas holidays start on December 24 and end on the first weekday after January 6. The first term ends in Vienna and Lower Austria on the first Friday of February, in Burgenland, Carinthia, Salzburg, Tyrol and Vorarlberg on the second Friday of February and in Upper Austria and Styria on the third Friday of February.
There is a one-week break between the two terms. In the second term there are the Easter holidays, the Mayday Holiday on May 1 and the long weekends of Pentecost, Ascension and Corpus Christi. The school year ends in Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland on the last Friday of June, in Upper Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Salzburg, Tyrol and Vorarlberg on the first Friday in July.
The Barbadian school year is fashioned after the British system, and as such, it follows a scheduling with three terms per school year.
The first term begins in the second week of September and continues for 15 weeks, ending in mid-December, excluding one week for mid-term break in mid-October. The second term begins in the first week of January and continues for 12 weeks, ending at the end of March. The third term begins mid-April and continues for 11 weeks until the end of June. The long school holiday period is 9 to 10 weeks from the end of June until the first week of September.
In Brazil, due to the Law of Directives and Bases of Brazilian Education, the academic year must have 200 days, both at schools and at universities. The school year usually begins during the first week of February. There is a 3-week long winter break in July. The Brazilian school year ends the first week of December, summer in Brazil. In the northernmost tropical areas of Brazil, the school year starts the first week of September and ends the last week of June, following the practice of countries further north.
In Brazilian universities academic terms are defined as periods or semesters (período, semestre). The majority of academic degrees courses are 8 semesters (four years) long or 10 semesters (five years) long.
In Bangladesh, the kindergarten, elementary and schools follow the semester system. Most of the universities follow the semester system although for some particular subjects such as Law they follow a yearly system. Business schools of all public and private universities follow a semester or trimester system.
Some of the universities using a two-semester system (using "Term 1" and "Term 2" designations) include: Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh Agriculture University, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology, International Islamic University Chittagong, Khulna University, Khulna University of Engineering and Technology, Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology, and Shahjalal University of Science and Technology.Jagannath University
Some of the universities following a trimester system (using "Spring", "Summer" and "Fall" designations) include: American International University - Bangladesh, BRAC University, East West University, North South University, Presidency University, and United International University.
In Belgium, kindergarten, elementary and secondary schools begin on September 1 and end on June 30.
Schools also take breaks/holidays:
Universities and colleges in Belgium use the semester system, dividing the academic year in two equal parts of fourteen weeks of courses. Universities start the first semester in the third week of September, and no 'autumn break'. Colleges start one week earlier, in the second week of September, giving them right to the 'autumn break' of one week. After 14 weeks of courses the 'Christmas break' starts (around December 20), which is used to study for the 3–4 weeks of examinations in January.
After these examinations the universities have one week of vacation, the so-called 'semestrial vacation', while the colleges start the classes of the second semester at the end of January, immediately after the examinations, which week they reclaim with the 'spring break' at the end of February, which the universities do not have. The universities start the second semester in the beginning of February.
Both universities and colleges have the 'Easter break', which again is used to study for the examinations in June. After Easter, the classes start again until the end of May, followed by four weeks of examinations in June, after which three months of vacation is given. The students who failed in passing some of the courses in their curriculum in January and June, the so-called 'first session', have to do the examinations again in the second session at the end of August.
In Cambodia the school year kindergarten sectors in public schools consists of 10 months with a two-month vacation, while in primary, and secondary sectors, it is divided into two semesters and each semester is divided into 2 quarters. The first Monday of October is the start of the academic term. After the 1st semester, a small vacation when the school is halted and at the end of the Second Semester, a 2-month vacation until the start of the new year. In universities, it is divided into 4 years.
In Canada the school year for elementary and high school consists of 178 to 200 days, depending on jurisdiction, but several days may be deducted from this total for professional development and administrative duties, resulting in approximately 187 teaching days per year for most jurisdictions. Elementary students receive approximately 950 hours of instruction and secondary students receive approximately 1000 hours per year.
Generally in English Canada, high schools run on a two-semester arrangement, also known as fall and spring semester, the first semester starting from the day after Labour Day in September to mid-January and the second running from early February until the Thursday before the last Friday in June. The semesters are often divided into two terms each. Some schools in Canada run on a trimester system, the first running from September to January, the second from January to March or April, and the third from March or April until June. The trimester is more common in elementary and middle schools (Kindergarten - Grade 8) than in high schools (Grade 9 - Grade 12). Most of those characteristics differ in Québec, where education is, with the exception of a few school boards, given in French.
Most universities and colleges usually run from early September until the end of April or early May. Often, this winter session is split into two terms running September to December and January to April. Various forms of summer studies may be offered May to August. Some, such as Simon Fraser University, run a full tri-semester system, providing full courses during summer. There are a few school boards in Canada experimenting with year-round schooling.
In elementary school, high school, as well as in universities, Chilean education is divided into two semesters. The first one starts late February or early March and lasts until late June and the second starts in early August and finishes in mid-December; also, some universities offer a summer period from early January to mid-February but just for exceptional courses. These semesters have breaks for public festivities, such as Easter (approx. one week in April), independence commemoration (one or two weeks in September) and some public holidays like labour day, amongst others.
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In People's Republic of China, all schools including elementary, middle and high schools, colleges and universities have two semesters, the first from September to January, and the other from February or March, depending on the date of Chinese New Year of that year, to July.
In Costa Rica the school year runs for ten months. It starts on the first week of February and ends on the last week of November. There is a mid-term vacation of approximately 2 weeks in July, and most schools also observe "Easter Week" in March or April.
In the elementary and high schools in the Czech Republic, the school year usually runs from September 1 to June 30 of the following year.
It is divided into two semesters with breaks on public holidays such as St. Vaclav (September 28), Independence day (October 28, two days break), Velvet Revolution (November 17), Christmas (7 – 10 days break), Spring break (1 week break), Easter (3 days break on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Monday) and finally Labour day (May 1) and Liberation day (May 8). After the end of school year on June 30, the Summer holidays follow till September 1 when a new school year starts. Sole exception to this is the final year at high schools, which ends with Graduation of students at the end of May.
In schools in Denmark, the school year runs from August to June. In universities, the academic year runs from around September 1 to June 30, and is often divided into an autumn semester (with January set aside for exams) and a spring semester (with June set aside for exams). Since 2004, some Danish universities and faculties divide the academic year into four quarters, each of which may consist of eight weeks and an exam week, and being separated from the next quarter by a one-week break.
In Estonia, elementary and high schools begin on 1 September and end in the beginning of June. Universities start on the first Monday of September and usually end in the middle of May or in the beginning of June; though in reality, exam periods may continue until the end of June (e.g. University of Tartu).
In Ethiopia, almost all elementary, secondary, and college classes are conducted on a two-semester timetable. The first semester of the year is from September to late January or mid February. The second semester usually begins some two weeks after the end of the first and ends in late May or mid June.
In the elementary and secondary schools and college, the academic year is divided in semesters. The autumn semester begins in mid August and is suspended a few days before Christmas. The classes continue after the Epiphany with the spring semester which finishes at the beginning of June.
In primary and secondary schools, the school year begins the first Monday of September, unless September 1 is on Sunday. The school year is divided into trimesters. The first from September to January, the second from January to April, and the third is from April to June. There are the Autumn Holidays beginning on the week of All Saint's Day. They last about a week-and-a-half from midday Saturday before All Saint's Day to the Second Wednesday of holidays. The Christmas Holidays are from the Saturday before Christmas to the first Monday after the New Year, unless New Year's Day falls on a Sunday. The second term begins and the Winter Holidays are two weeks in February depending on region. Easter Holidays are two weeks in April depending on region. The third term begins then, and ends in early July. There is only a half week of school in July.
On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, pupils have a full day of teaching from around 8:00am until around 4:00pm. On Wednesday mornings, some pupils may have supplementary classes. French pupils used to attend school on Saturdays, but the so-called "four-days week" has been implemented since September 2008, reducing the teaching year from 936 to 864 hours (above the European average of 800 hours, but below the UK minimum of 950 hours for state schools). Additional holidays include Veterans Day on November 11, May 8, Ascension Day, May Day on May 1, and Easter Monday.
The school year in Germany begins between late July and early September, and ends from mid-June to July, with a summer break of similar length to that in the UK (only 6 weeks) but much shorter than in some other countries (with up to 3 months). The summer vacation starts in a different week by state (there are 16 federal states (including Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen)). The school year includes four or five shorter breaks or holidays:
Due to Germany's federal structure, all breaks may differ depending on the state. The exact dates for the beginning and the end of school breaks are kept different state by state and changed every year. This is meant to keep holiday traffic as low as possible.
The school year is divided into two parts (September to February & February to July). There is not necessarily any break between those two parts, but pupils get a semi-year school report (it only displays their current level and is not relevant for promotion).
German universities run two semesters with the start and end dates depending on the university. The Wintersemester, during which most students start university, often goes from the 1st of October till the 31st of March, with lectures starting around the 15th of October and lasting 14 weeks. There is usually a two-week break around Christmas and New Year (which is not counted in the 14 weeks). The Sommersemester consequently usually goes from the 1st of April till the 30th of September with lectures starting some time after Easter and lasting 12 weeks. The two lecture-free periods of 12 to 14 weeks between the semesters are for taking exams, doing internships, lab courses and employment.
The University of Mannheim changed their schedule to conform with US standards in Fall of 2006. The semesters there are now from August 1 to January 31 (Herbst-/Wintersemester) and from February 1 to July 31 (Frühjahrs-/Sommersemester).
"Fachhochschulen" start both semester one month earlier than the universities.
"Berufsakademien" have four quarters, January to March and so on. In alternating quarters the students attend the university and intern at the employer (the latter being the "Praxisphase"). The number of lessons per week is significantly higher than at normal universities (equivalent to a full-time job) and the exams cannot be during the "free time" of the year, as that time is spent in the company. Vacation is given according to labor laws, i.e. half of 20–30 days (because only half of the year is worked).
The school year in Guyana usually begins in September and ends in July of the following year. It has three terms: Christmas (First), Easter (Second) and August (Third), with two to three weeks break for Christmas and Easter and 6 to 7 weeks during the August term.
The school year in Honduras runs from early August to late May for a total of ten months and is split into three terms.
All of the terms are separated by breaks. There is a 2-3 week long break for Christmas and New Year's in between the first and second term, and there is a one-week long spring break in between the second and third term. The summer vacation typically lasts two months before the next school year starts in August.
In Hong Kong, the academic year runs from late August to mid-June for most primary and secondary schools. Some secondary schools have three terms, but most have two terms. For universities and other tertiary institutions the academic year usually runs from September or October to April or May, sometimes with an extra summer term roughly from May to July.
In the elementary and high schools in Hungary, the school year usually runs from September 1 to June 15 of the next year, with variation if these dates fall on Saturday or Sunday. The school year (tanév) is usually split into two semesters (félév). These semesters are also divided, with some schools holding examinations each half-semester. The first semester runs from September 1 till the middle of January and is divided by the fall vacation, which is around All Saints' Day and lasts for a week. The second semester is closed at the end of the school year. It is divided by the Easter holiday, which is just a long weekend. Apart from these vacations and national celebrations, schools often make 'skiing holidays' (síszünet), the date of which varies from the middle of January till February, though some schools hold it in December. Its length also varies from one school to another. The workdays of this vacation are usually held on Saturdays[clarification needed]. It is made so that the students of the school who partake in the skiing camp of the school need no verification of absence. In the last school year of secondary education, the examinations of abitur (similar to A-level exams in the UK or high school diplomas in the US) end in July.
Hungarian universities run two semesters. They are typically from the second week of September to the middle of December (őszi félév) and from February to the middle of May (tavaszi félév). Both semesters are followed by an examination period. In addition to the break between the semesters in summer, there is typically a break including Christmas and New Year. Some universities also have a fall and an Easter vacation.
In elementary and high schools, the school year is usually from June to March, while in Universities it is from August to April. There is a mid–year break during summer, usually from the end of May to the start of July in Universities and in elementary and high schools, the vacations range from the beginning of April and lasts up to the end of May. There is also a winter vacation of 2 weeks at the end of the year. However, in the southern states like Karnataka there will be two breaks, one for Dasara in September/October for 15 days and another for Christmas in December which ranges from 7–15 days. A semester system is being implemented in most of the Universities in India as directed by the University Grants Commission.
Kerala University, MG University and Sri Sankara University have reached a consensus and the other universities are also likely to introduce credit based semester system in Kerala.[clarification needed] Delhi University also introduced this system. Credit based trimester system is chosen by Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies (RGUKT), Andhrapradesh.'RGUKT also known as APIIIT.
For Indian administered Kashmir, the school year usually begins in mid-October or the start of November. There are two vacations in a year, Winter holidays last from the start of December till the first of March. A summer vacation usually lasts two weeks from mid-July to the end of July, the dates do vary. For schools, students move from old to the new academic year immediately after the exams for the previous year is over with a small break of a week for compilation of results.
Academic year in Indonesia runs from July to June (11 months). Mid-term breaks usually starts from mid December to second week of January. End-term breaks usually start from late June to mid July. A semester ends with a final exam (usually start in first week of the month). During president Abdurrahman Wahid term, schools are closed for Ramadan and a week after Eid- ul Fitr. Some schools implementing Saturday-off. Previously, academic year starts from January to December, but this rule changed in 1985.
In Iran, the academic year runs from September to June (10 months). Some universities, however, offer a limited number of courses in summer. Students have a three-month summer vacation. All schools are closed during Nowruz from march 20 till the beginning of April to celebrate the Iranian new year. The first (fall) semester begins on the first day of the Persian Calendar month of Mehr equivalent to the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and ends in January. The second (spring) semester begins in the winter and ends in June. No mid-term break exists in the academic calendar.
The primary school year runs from the beginning of September until the end of June. There are breaks for Christmas and Easter and two mid-term breaks at the end of October and mid-February. Secondary schools run from September to the end of May, but due to the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate exams, 3rd and 6th years respectively break at the end of June for summer holidays upon completion of the exams which end in the 3rd week of June. The academic year for schools in receipt of public funding lasts for a minimum of 167 teaching days in secondary schools and 183 days in primary schools. Third-level institutions run a much shorter calendar, generally from mid to late September, sometimes early October, to December for their first semester. The second semester usually runs from January to mid- or late May with a break for Easter of up to a month.
The school year in Israel starts in elementary, middle, and high schools on August 26 (from 2012), and lasts until the end of June for elementary schools,middle and high schools. There are no fixed holidays of equal length, with breaks occurring on national holidays, usually lasting two or three days. For Jews, there is a nine-day break for Sukkot (autumn); a seven-day break for Hannukah (in December); and for Passover (spring) the break is 2–3 weeks long. For the Muslim population, breaks are taken for Eid al-Adha, Eid ul-Fitr and end of semester breaks.
The university academic year typically divides into two semesters which start after Sukkot (typically mid to late October) and end in June or July. Some academic institutions also enable a third semester in the summer.
The short breaks:
The school year in Israel is divided into two semesters:
Until 2011 the summer break ended on August 31, but in 2011 Israeli ministry of education decided to shorten the summer break by one week and the break now ends on August 25 as of 2012. The period between Yom Kippur and Succoth was added as holiday to compensate.
In most Yeshivas, the year is divided into three periods (terms) called zmanim. Elul zman starts from the beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul and extends until the end of Yom Kippur. This is the shortest (approx. six weeks), but most intense semester as it comes before the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Winter zman starts after Sukkot and lasts until just before Passover, a duration of five months (six in a Jewish leap year). Summer semester starts after Passover and lasts until either the middle of the month of Tammuz or Tisha B'Av, a duration of about three months. During the interim periods, which are called bein hazmanim (between the terms), students are on vacation.
In Japan, almost all schools run a three-term school year (trimester system), and most universities and colleges have a semester system. Most schools with a trimester system have a first term from April 1 to late July. The exact date of the beginning of the summer break and its duration vary across regions, but commonly the break lasts for about 6 weeks. The break originated to avoid the heat in summer, so elementary, middle, and high schools in Hokkaidō and Nagano Prefecture tend to have a shorter summer break than the rest of schools in Japan.
A second term lasts from early September to late December with a 2-week long break for Christmas and New Year's at the end of the year. The term is followed by a third term from early January to late March and a brief week-long spring break. The graduation ceremony occurs in March, and the enrollment ceremony in early April.
Some universities and colleges accept students in September or October in order to let those students from other semester systems enroll. In recent years a few colleges have begun experimenting with having two semesters instead of the traditional three with the break between two semesters in summer.
In South Korea, the school year is divided into two terms. The first term usually runs from March 2, unless it is a Friday or the weekend, to mid July with the summer vacation from mid-July to late-August (elementary and secondary schools) and from mid-June to late August (higher education institutions). The second term usually resumes in late August and runs until mid February. The winter break is from late December to late January. There are two weeks of school (elementary and secondary schools) in February. Then there is a two-week-break before the new academic year starts in March.
The school hours are approximately from 8:00am to 4:00pm for high school, each class lasting 50 minutes. For middle school, it is about from 8:00am–3:30pm, each class lasting 45 minutes. In Primary School, the lower grades (Grades 1-3) have classes around 8:30 to 2:00 and the upper grades (Grades 4-6) have classes from about 9:00 to 3:00. Each class lasts about forty minutes.In high school, the older students are sometimes required to stay until 9:00pm or later studying on their own. For the most part, teachers rotate and the students stay in their classroom except for certain classes such as Physical Education, Music and Science labs.
School on Saturday ends at noon. They call Saturdays they do not attend school 놀토 (nol-to), short for 노는 토요일 (no-neun to-yo-il); it means resting Saturday. Until 2011, students went to school on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Saturdays of each month; but from 2012, students no longer go to school on Saturdays.
In Lithuania, elementary and high school begin at September 1 and end in early June.
Schools also take breaks/holidays:
There are two semesters in each primary and secondary school year in Malaysia. The first semester begins on January 3 and ends in late May the same year. After the mid-term holidays, which lasts for two weeks, the final semester will commence in June and ends in early November. The following school year will start after a two-month long school holiday in November to early January.
The last day of school is generally Friday, with the first day of a long school holiday being Saturday. School holidays normally begin on Friday in Kelantan, Kedah and Terengganu compared to the rest of the country. This is due to these states observing a Friday-Saturday weekend, instead of the usual Saturday-Sunday weekend.
Schools in Malaysia also take breaks during most national and certain respective state holidays. Government and special schools can apply for additional holidays during Chinese New Year or Deepavali, but they have to replace every school day which is missed, and normally this is done prior to the additional holidays taken.
The school year is split in two parts. It starts at the end of September and ends at the end of June the following year.
The school year in Mexico starts in mid-August and ends in the first days of July and, by law, must cover 200 days. The calendar is designed by the Secretariat of Public Education Spanish: Secretaría de Educación Pública, SEP), the government department overseeing public education in Mexico with arrangement of the leaders of the National Educational Workers Union (Spanish: Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación, SNTE). All public and private elementary schools under the guidance of the dependence observe this year. In the case of universities, normally the school year starts in the last week of July and is divided in semesters, trimesters or semesters. Christmas Break is usually 3 weeks.
The New Zealand school year runs from the beginning of February to mid-December, and since 1996, has been divided into four terms. By law, all state and state-integrated schools are required to be open for instruction for 380 half-days in a year (390 half-days for schools with only Year 8 students or below), meaning that the start and end of the school year is not nationally fixed to a particular date, as schools take different teacher-only days and provincial anniversary days off during the year. Schools can be exempted from opening the required number of half-days in some cases, such as in Christchurch in 2011 when many schools closed for up to a month after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The breaks between terms have fixed start and end dates, and the break length is fixed at two weeks.
In general, terms run as follows if Easter falls in early-to-mid-April:
If Easter falls in March or late in April, Term 1 usually ends in mid-April and Term 2 begins at the beginning of May. If Easter is in March, a 5-day half-term break then exists, with school ending on Maundy Thursday and resuming on the Wednesday. The start of term two may be delayed if Anzac Day (25 April) falls on the Monday or Tuesday directly following the Easter break.
Private schools are not required to adhere to the Ministry's term structure, but by law they may not be open for instruction on Saturday or Sunday, the ten national public holidays, the school location's relevant anniversary day, and the Tuesday immediately following Easter Monday.
Senior secondary students (Years 11, 12, and 13) in many state schools have examination leave from mid-November, on the Thursday or Friday before the first NCEA external examinations begin. Officially, however, the term still does not end until mid-December.
The school year in Oman is divided into two semesters. The first starts in early September and runs to mid-January depending on the level. The second semester runs from early February to late May Usually there are exams at the end of each semester. Students get a number of breaks throughout the year: National Day on 18 November, New Higri year break, Prophet Mohammed birthday break, Eid Al-Fitr break and Eid Al-Adha break. As most of these breaks depend on the Higri year which is 10 days shorter than the Solar year, there is a gradual change on the date of these events in relation to the school year.
In Pakistan, the school year runs from August to May (10 months). Students have a two-month summer vacation and a two-week winter vacation. In Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir and some areas of Balochistan, where heavy snow paralyzes life in the winter, the schools close for two months and there are two weeks of summer vacation.
Schools and universities are off on national holidays: Pakistan Day (March 23), Independence Day (August 14), Defence of Pakistan Day (September 6), Pakistan Air Force Day (September 7), the anniversaries of the birth (December 25) and death (September 11) of Quaid-e-Azam, Allama Iqbal (November 9) and the birth (July 30) and death (July 8) of Madar-e-Millat.
In the University of Engineering and Technology Lahore, the holidays are for two and half months during summer.
For the government universities, the students of bachelors are given 1-1.5 month of summer vacation and 1-1.5 weeks of winter vacations.
The Philippine school year runs for 10 months, and a school year must be at least 200 days as prescribed by law. The school year begins on the first week of June and ends on the last week of March. In most schools, summer break usually lasts for two months, from the first week of April to the last week of May. Most schools end the school year before Holy Week. Christmas break usually begins in the third week of December, and class resumes the Monday after New Year's Day (unless that Monday is January 2). Commencement ceremonies are often held in late March or early April.
For primary and secondary schools, an academic year is usually divided in quarters. Each quarter is approximately two to two and a half months months. The second quarter immediately begins after the first quarter exams. There is a one-week break between the second and third quarters called the semestral break (also known as sem break). The one-week break commonly coincides with All Saints' Day. There is also a Christmas break that runs for two weeks between December and January. Some schools use all the remaining months after the new year for the fourth quarter.
For universities and colleges, an academic year is divided into two semesters. Each semester is approximately 17–18 weeks long. The first semester is followed by a break consisting of two to four weeks before the second semester. The semestral break for all universities and colleges usually occurs between the second week of October to the second week of November, normally including the All Saints' and All Souls' holidays) and can be between two to three weeks long. Private schools also use the semester system which has one-week semestral break to coincide with All Saints' Day.
Other schools such as the De La Salle University and Far Eastern University - East Asia College operate under a trimestral system. Classes start in the fourth week of May and ends in the third week of April. Under this system, students are typically able to finish their academic studies a year earlier than those from other universities with a semestral programme. Mapúa Institute of Technology began using the quarterly system with eleven weeks to a term after its acquisition by the Yuchengco Group. This allows their engineering programmes to be completed a year ahead of schools running on a semestral schedule.
Exceptions to this schedule are international schools operating in the country, which normally follow the September to June schedule.
In Poland, the academic year begins on September 1 and ends on the first Friday after June 18. There is a Christmas break in December which lasts until after New Year's Day. There is also a winter holiday break lasting two weeks in January or February but the exact date is different for each province and the dates usually change each year. Winter break is also the dividing line between the two semesters of the school year.
Most universities start their courses on October 1 (at some institutions late September), and ending in January. The first semester of the academic year is commonly referred to as the "winter term". In February or March, the second term (the "summer term") starts. It finishes in June. Each semester is usually 15 or 16 weeks long. After each of them there is an "examination session", when no courses are taught, which lasts up to one month. Summer break starts after the exams and lasts until the start of the next academic year. In September there is an extra examination session during which students can retake failed exams.
The school year in Portugal runs from September to June and is divided in three Terms (Períodos, in Portuguese):
During the school year there are several breaks or holidays (interrupções or férias, in Portuguese):
Universities and colleges follow a different academic year, which consists of two semesters.
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The school year in Romania is divided into two semesters. From kindergarten to high school the first semester opens in mid September and continues until Christmas. The second semester lasts from January until mid June.
The school year in Russia traditionally starts on 1 September (The Knowledge Day) and lasts until 25 May, which is also known as The Last School-Bell day for the graduates. The school year is divided into four terms, or 'quarters', separated by one- or two-week holidays (the first week in November, the first two weeks in January, and the last week of March). The school summer holiday lasts three months: June, July, and August.
The academic year at universities also starts on 1 September and usually consists of 42 educational weeks and 10 weeks of holidays. It is divided into two terms. The first term runs from 1 September to 24/25 January (21 weeks, including 3-5-week exams session at the end) followed by a two-week holiday. (25 January, Tatiana Day is traditionally celebrated as Russian Students Day). The second term runs from 8/9 February - 15/30 June (21 weeks, including 3-5-week exams session) followed by an eight-week summer holiday. Some Russian universities do not use a traditional scheme: they exclude exams sessions, and the academic year is divided in a 2:3 proportion - 17 educational weeks (followed by a two-week holiday) and 25 educational weeks (followed by an eight-week summer holiday).
The school year coincides with the calendar year, and the first term begins on January 3 (unless it is a Friday or the weekend). The school year comprises four terms of approximately 10 weeks each.
Terms 1 and 2 are known as Semester 1, and terms 3 and 4 as Semester 2. The first year of Junior College begins in February to accommodate the release of the O level results.
International schools in Singapore operate on a different system, often similar to the system in their home countries.
Polytechnics and universities operate on a different calendar from schools. There are two semesters in a year in polytechnics.
The university calendar was influenced by the academic year in India. It has since evolved to match the northern hemisphere calendar more closely.
The school year for elementary, grammar and high schools begins on September 2 (September 1 is Constitution Day) and ends June 29 of the following year. The school day starts at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 2:00 p.m. (time varies due to day and type of school). in most schools. It is split into two halves, with the first half ending on the last day of January.
Universities starts in second half of September or 1 October. Academic year consist of 2 semesters (winter /until December/ and summer /until May/).
The school year in Slovenia for elementary and grammar schools begins on 1 September and formally ends on 31 August, although classes and exams are finished by 25 June. July and August thus constitute summer holidays. There are also four one-week breaks during the school year, occurring around All Saints Day, between Christmas and New Year, at the end of February, and around the May Day.
Universities and colleges follow a different academic year. It consists of two semesters—the winter semester starting on 1 October, which ends around 15 January. It is followed by a one-month break, during which students take the exams for subjects they have read in the semester. The summer semester begins on 15 February and lasts until 31 May, followed by the exam period, which ends on 30 June. Students who have not passed the necessary exams have a chance to do so during the autumn exam period in September. Students and faculty are free during in July and August. New classes are held again in October.
All South African public schools have a four-term school year as determined by the national Department of Education. Each term is between 10 and 11 weeks long. The terms are roughly structured as follows:
The academic year is approximately 200 school days in duration and runs from January to December. Private schools follow a similar calendar, but slightly alter it according to their academic and religious needs. The dates of the school year for coastal schools is slightly different to that for inland schools.
The National Education Department proposed a five-week long school break in June–July 2010 for the 2010 Soccer World Cup-hosted in South Africa-to avoid pupil and teacher absenteeism and a chaotic transport system.
South African universities have a year consisting of two semesters, with the first semester running from early February to early June, and the second semester from late July to late November. Each semester consists of twelve or thirteen teaching weeks, interrupted by a one-week short vacation, and followed by three or four weeks of examinations. In the first semester the short vacation often falls around the Easter weekend, while in the second semester it occurs in early September.
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There are two semesters in the Thai academic year with an optional summer semester. From kindergarten to high school, the first semester opens in mid May and continues until the end of September. The second semester lasts from November until the end of February (or early March). The university academic year is slightly different, lasting from June to October and mid November to mid March.
The Turkish academic year begins in September and continues through to the following June. In most public educational institutions from primary to tertiary, the first semester begins in September and continues until January, and the second semester begins February and continues until June. The academic calendar and dates of mid-semester breaks may vary across private institutions.
The school year in the United Kingdom is generally divided into three terms running from autumn to summer. For state schools, the school year consists of 195 days of which there are 190 teaching days and 5 INSET teacher training days. For independent schools, the school year can be as short as 175 days. The structure of the school year varies between the constituent countries of the United Kingdom with school holiday dates varying between local education authorities.
In England and Wales, the school year generally runs from early September until mid-July of the following year. Most schools operate a three-term school year, each term divided in half by a week-long break known as ‘half term’ (although some counties, like Oxfordshire, consider these to be six separate terms instead), and are structured as follows:
The terms are separated by two holidays each consisting of approximately two weeks: the Christmas holidays separating the autumn term and spring term and the Easter holidays separating the spring term and the summer term. The period between the end of one school year and the start of the next is known as the summer holidays consisting of six to eight weeks.
The school year in Northern Ireland generally runs from early September to late June or early July of the following year. Most schools operate a three-term school year similar to England and Wales; however, there is no half term during summer term due to the province's longer summer holidays. The terms are structured as follows:
The terms are separated by two holidays each consisting of approximately two weeks: the Christmas Holidays separating the autumn and spring terms, and the Easter holidays separating the spring and summer terms. The summer holidays in Northern Ireland last nine weeks, from the start of July until the end of August, due to the Twelfth of July bank holiday.
The school year in Scotland generally runs from middle or late August to late June or early July of the following year (usually in eastern council areas from the third Monday in August to the first Friday in July and in western council areas from the second Monday in August to the last Friday in June). Most schools operate a three-term school year, each term divided in half by a break known as ‘mid-term’, lasting a week or two in October, a few days to a week in February, and a few days in May. The terms are structured as follows:
The terms are separated by two holidays each consisting of approximately two weeks: the Christmas Holidays separating the autumn and spring terms, and the Easter holidays separating the spring and summer terms. The period between the end of one school year and the start of the next is known as the summer holidays and consists of six or seven weeks.
The academic year was originally designed for the pre-industrial era when all able-bodied young people were needed to help with harvesting over the summer. It is thus designed around a long holiday in July and August, placing the rest of the year into three terms arranged around Christmas and Easter, which constrain things still further. The long terms then require a half-term break to give pupils and teachers time to recharge.
The long summer holiday has often been criticised by educationalists who say that the long breaks delay academic progress. Even a House of Commons Education Select Committee recommended in 1999 that schools switch to a five-term academic year, abolishing the long summer holidays. Each term would be eight weeks long with a two-week break in between terms, and a minimum four-week summer holiday, with no half terms—the idea being that children can keep up momentum for eight weeks without a break. The proposals were introduced at a small number of schools nationally.
In 1999, the Local Government Association set up a commission to look at alternative proposals for a more balanced school year. In partnership with Local Authorities and teachers unions, they were unable to agree to a suitable alternative arrangement for terms, but by 2004 came to an agreement with the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers for a standardised arrangement of school terms. Since 2004, around one third of English local authorities have signed up to the proposals which see a standard academic year agreed between the authorities, including slight variations on the traditional schemes, based on the following principles:
There are a lot of differing practices that use confusingly similar terminology. Many universities run ten-week autumn, spring and summer terms, though some use different names or a semester system, with the new semester beginning halfway through the second term. Many other universities run unevenly lengthened terms, with the autumn term usually the longest. Even within individual institutions practice can vary from year to year to accommodate factors such as the changing date of Easter. Some universities also have a "reading week" in which no teaching takes place at all, the equivalent of a school half term. At other universities "reading weeks" are not uniform and may be in different weeks in different faculties, departments, modules or even seminar groups. Some reading weeks cover only seminars whilst lectures continue; others suspend both for the week.
Examples include:
Exceptions include the Open University and the University of Buckingham where undergraduate courses do not coincide with the academic year used by universities in Britain and elsewhere. Instead, they largely coincide with the calendar year—they typically start in January or February, with examinations in autumn.
In England, academic and judicial institutions traditionally organised their year approximately as follows into four terms:
In Scotland, academic and judicial institutions traditionally organised their year into four terms:
Specific dates varied between institutions, and all except Michaelmas were determined by the date of Easter.
In the United States, the academic year for most K–12 institutions typically consists of two 18-week semesters, each divided into two nine-week marking periods (or quarters) or three six-week marking periods, and constituting 170 to 186 instructional days (with an average of 180). An instructional week is five instructional days, measured Monday–Friday at all public and most private schools; Sunday–Thursday at Jewish private schools; Saturday–Wednesday or Sunday–Thursday at Muslim private schools; and so on. Grades are usually reported per marking period, but major examinations are given per semester or per year.
The traditional start date for the school year has been the first Tuesday in September (the day after Labor Day). Though some schools still keep this tradition, many schools now start in the last two weeks of August and some schools (especially private ones) may start as late as the end of September or the first week in October. There are also some schools, especially in the southern tier of the United States, that begin at the end of July and early August. The school year ends 42 instructional weeks after it begins. Also, some schools are now moving to the first Wednesday in September (usually two days after Labor Day, unless it falls on September 1 or 2) to allow a short week as students adjust to being in school again.
School holidays, which are not counted as instructional days, typically include Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Friday (two days although many systems take the Wednesday and/or the following Monday off as well, mostly the whole week in most schools), a winter break beginning a few days before Christmas, though sometimes as late as the day before Christmas Eve, through to about 2 days after New Year's Day (about 2 weeks), Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, spring break during the Western Christian Holy Week and the week after Easter (2 weeks), and Memorial Day. Schools also observe one or more of Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Lincoln's Birthday, and other state or local holidays. Some schools have additional holidays for students that are workdays for the staff, such as parent–teacher conference days, though other schools dismiss students early. The aggregate of school holidays typically amounts to more than 70 weekdays, so an academic year that starts the last week of August or first week of September (usually the day after Labor Day in September) will typically finish the first week of June. Schools that start in late July or early August end in late May.
Three calendar systems are used by most American colleges and universities: quarter system, semester system, and trimester system. These are ways the calendar year, measured September–August or August–August, is organized into a formal academic year. Some schools, particularly some business schools and community colleges, use the mini-mester or mini-semester system.
The quarter system divides the calendar year into four quarters, three of which constitute a complete academic year. Quarters are typically 10 weeks long so that three quarters amount to 30 weeks of instruction. Approximately 20% of universities are on the quarter system. Most colleges that use the quarter system have a fall quarter from late September to mid-December, a winter quarter from early January to mid-March, a spring quarter from late March or early April to mid-June, and an optional summer session. Notable users of the quarter system include the University of California system (excluding Berkeley and Merced) and the University of Chicago.
The semester system divides the calendar year into two semesters of 15 weeks each, plus summer sessions of varying lengths. The two semesters together constitute 30 weeks of instruction, so that three academic quarters equal two academic semesters. Thus, academic credit earned in quarter hours converts to semester hours at 2/3 of its value, while credit earned in semester hours converts to quarter hours at 3/2 of its value. Put another way, 3 quarter hours is 2 semester hours. Most universities on the semester system have a fall semester from the day after Labor Day in September to mid-December, a spring/winter semester from late January to early May, and an optional summer session.
In practice, the average quarter course is four or five units and the average semester course is three units, so a full-time student graduating in four years would take five courses per semester and three or four courses per quarter.
Some colleges and universities have a 4-1-4 system, which divides the year into two four-month terms (September to December and February to May) as well as a single one-month term in January in which students can do independent study, study abroad, internships, activities or focus on one or two classes. The one-month term is sometimes called a mini-mester, winter session, inter-term/interim/intersession or J-term. Examples of schools using this system include: Whittier College, Williams College, Bethany College in West Virginia, Berea College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, New College of Florida, Calvin College, Augustana College (Illinois) Gustavus Adolphus College, Linfield College, Luther College, Oberlin College, Middlebury College, Erskine College, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Eckerd College, Wofford College, Austin College, Saint Olaf College, Samford University, Hofstra University, University of Delaware, Saint Mary's College of California, Colby College, Chapman University, Pacific University, and Pacific Lutheran University.
Some schools have a similar format but ordered as 4-4-1, with the short term in May after the conclusion of the spring semester. The term is sometimes called either "Maymester", a portmanteau of "May" and "semester", or "May term". Examples of schools using this system include Bates College, Chatham University, Clemson University, Elmira College, Purdue University, Transylvania University, the University of Redlands, and Washington and Lee University's 12-12-4 undergraduate calendar.
The trimester system evolved out of the semester system. It divides the academic year into three equal portions of 10–11 weeks each. Institutions that use the trimester system include Union College, California Institute of Technology, Carleton College, Knox College (Illinois), Augustana College (Illinois), Lawrence University, and the United States Merchant Marine Academy. The fall and winter and spring trimesters constitute an academic year of 30–32 weeks. The reduced maximum course load that accompanies the shortening from the traditional semester makes the trimester system compatible with the semester system. Academic credit is thus measured on the trimester system in semester hours; there is no such thing as a "trimester hour" of credit.
A number of colleges have adopted the "one course at a time" or "block schedule" calendar. Academic years consist of a number of terms lasting roughly four weeks each, during which a full semester's worth of work is completed in one and only one class. Colorado College first began their "Block Plan" in 1970, followed by Maharishi International University in 1971, Cornell College in 1978. Quest University in Squamish, British Columbia; Tusculum College in Tusculum, Tennessee; and The University of Montana - Western are the only other colleges operating under this academic calendar.