Internet insights

The International Bureau of Education is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) centre for information and research on comparative education.

Detailed official information about 80 of the world's education systems is available at its website in Switzerland.

Each country's entry can be read as a whole, but a search facility enables quick comparisons between countries on such questions as average primary school class size in countries within particular regions.

The UK does not supply a figure, but Austria claims 30, France 24.8 and Germany 22.5. A free CD of the World Data on Education (Second Edition) is advertised, with a sizeable list of countries about to be added to the on-line version. The International Bureau site starts at: Impatient users can go directly to the World Data on Education pages at: chInfobasesIBEWDE96 Resource-hungry teachers will find the tables of figures, maps and flags quite enticing. Some familiarity with French and Spanish might be called for.

Sam Saunders

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