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June 15, 2004

Scottish Teachers Demand Smaller Classes

A teacher's union in Scotland has demanded that class sizes be reduced to a maximum of 20 students. The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), which represents 48,000 teachers and is the country's largest teaching union, voted to ballot for industrial action unless the government agrees to drastic cuts in class sizes by the end of the year. The union wants every classroom in the country to have a maximum of 20 pupils, compared with more than 25 at present. "That's also what pupils want and it's what parents expect. It's educationally unsound to have class sizes of 33 or even 25." said EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith. From a Japanese perspective, the current maximum allowed in Scotland - 33 students - is comparable to the actual average for junior high schools in Japan, which was 31.7 in 2002 (26.7 in elementary schools). Here, the maximum allowed is 40 students per class, a number still exceeded at some private schools.

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