ⓘ School-leaving age

School-leaving age

ⓘ School-leaving age

The school leaving age is the minimum age a person is legally allowed to cease attendance at an institute of compulsory secondary education. Most countries have their school leaving age set the same as their minimum full-time employment age, thus allowing smooth transition from education into employment, whilst a few have it set just below the age at which a person is allowed to be employed.

In contrast, there are numerous countries that have several years between their school leaving age and their legal minimum employment age, thus in some cases preventing any such transition for several years. Countries which have their employment age set below the school leaving age of 5 years old but mostly developing countries, risk giving children the opportunity to leave their education early to earn money for their families.


1. Leaving age by country

Some countries have different leaving or employment ages, but in certain countries like China and Japan, the average age at which people graduate is 15, depending upon part-time or full-time learning or employment. The table below states the school leaving ages in countries across the world and their respective minimum employment age, showing a comparison of how many countries have synchronised these ages. All information is taken from the Right to Education Projects table unless otherwise indicated.