From five to 20 years: how long children go to school around the world

It’s a simple statistic but it tells a story of enormous proportions. The average child in Australia or New Zealand will spend almost 15 years longer in school than a youngster in Niger.

They can be expect to have just under 20 years in primary, secondary and post-high school education, while students in the African nation attend school for an average of just 5.4 years.

Pakistan and Nigeria are among the countries wih the lowest length of school attendance.

The “school life expectancy’ of people across the world is covered in the Global Innovation Index 2014, compiled by Cornell University, international business school INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization.

It shows that there are 43 countries where people are in education for 15 or more years. Apart from Australia (19.86 average years) and New Zealand (19.39), the other countries in the top 10 are Iceland (18.70), Ireland (18.57), Netherlands (17.91), Norway (17.56), Spain (17.15), Finland (17.03), South Korea (16.97) and Denmark (16.93).

The 10 countries with the lowest school life expectancy are: Niger (15.52), Ethiopia (6.60), Burkina Faso (7.52), Pakistan (7.69), Senegal (7.95), Mali (8.43), Myanmar (8.63), Guinea (8.70), Nigeria (8.97) and Gambia (9.14).

A total of 128 countries are covered in the school life expectancy section. No figures are available for 15 other countries.

This year’s Global Innovation Index is subtitled “The Human Factor in Innovation”. The report shows sub-Saharan Africa is one of the world’s fastest-growing economic regions.

Although European countries topped the list as usual, analysts noticed a striking trend for growth in low-income African countries.