First day of school

The first day of school is the first day of an academic year. This is usually in August or September in the Northern Hemisphere and January or February in the Southern Hemisphere, but differs from country to country.

Students on their first day of school.

North AmericaEdit


In most locations in Canada, the first day of school is the Tuesday in September after Labour Day.

Costa RicaEdit

The first day of school in Costa Rica is in early August. The Education Ministry changes the date every year to ensure 200 effective days are in the school calendar.[1]

United StatesEdit

In the United States, educational policy is determined primarily at the state level and at the level of individual school districts. Therefore, there is no one particular day on which all schools start. During much of the 20th century, it was common for schools to start shortly after Labor Day (September), and in some areas of the United States, this is still the norm. However, it has become increasingly common for schools to start earlier in August or even late July. For example, in San Diego Unified School District, schools start on the last Monday of August.[2]



In Pakistan, the Government and Private schools hold their annual examinations in February-March Period. After Annual examinations, The First Day of New academic year of Students is between end of March or early April. Boards in Pakistan like BISE also start their first Day of academic year of Students in between March and April. Academic year of Students consist of summer vacations which are started on end of May or early June till 14th August(Independence Day of Pakistan). Academic Year of Students also consists of Winter Vacations which are started on end of December till first week of January.


In India the schools re-open in June after summer holidays. This applies to whole of K-12 including elementary, secondary and higher secondary schools. State board schools hold their annual exams in the month of March or April and new academic year starts in June after summer holidays. However, this isn't the beginning of the new academic year for some boards like ICSE and CBSE. Their annual examinations are held in the month of February after which the new academic session begins in the last week of March. It continues until the second week of May when the summer holidays begin. This summer holiday extends until June.


The first day of school in Israel is September 1, or September 2 if September 1 falls on Shabbath (Saturday). The last day of school is June 30 for elementary school and June 20 for secondary and high school.


In Korea, the school year begins on March 1st, but the first day of school in Korea is on March 2nd, as March 1st is a national holiday. The last day of school is in early January or February. It was common for students to end their second semester in late December, take a month off for winter vacation, come back to school for few weeks and then take a few weeks off for spring vacation before March. However, this has changed a lot recently and many schools are choosing to extend their second semester until early January before taking a longer break until the start of the school year in March.


The school year for primary and secondary schools in Malaysia starts in early January (usually the first working day of the year) and ends in late-November (usually on the last Saturday of the month), prior to the national exams. Some states that have their weekends on Friday and Saturday instead of Sunday will start and end the school year a day earlier or later (depending on the year) as compared to the other states. The school terms are divided into 4 terms, the 1st and 3rd term ends with a 1 week break while the 2nd term, also known as the mid-year term, ends with a 2 week mid-year break. The last term ends with a long break that last just about over a month (about 40 days) all the way till the following year. The national exams (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) are also held in December during the long break. National holidays are observed by all schools throughout the nation while state public holidays are only observed by schools within the states. Schools, at their own discretion, also usually give week long breaks for festival holidays like the Lunar New Year or Hari Raya Aidilfitri as students and teachers will be returning to their hometowns with their families. Other than the official off days of the public holiday, the extra days are replaced on Saturdays at a later time in the year.


The government school calendar in the Philippines usually begins on the first Monday of June. However, private schools have the exception to deviate from the calendar as regulated by Republic Act No. 7797. Some colleges or universities may start the school year in August. The school year must consist of 200 but not more than 220 days.[3]


The first day of school in Qatar is on September 15, along with some of the Arab World countries.[4]


The school year for all Singapore primary and secondary schools starts from early January and ends sometimes in late November. This takes into account 40 weeks of curriculum time for teaching and learning before the start of the national examinations, and six weeks of school vacation at end of the year for teachers and students.[5]


In Indonesia, the first day of school is usually in mid-July.


In Iran, the first day of school is in late September.


The first day of school in Japan (for all schools) falls on either April 7 or 8. School usually ends on March 24, giving the students a one week break between the years. School starts in April because the National government in the Meiji era defined their financial year from April to March from 1886, forcing all the schools to align to their financial year. Since then, the time sakura, or cherry blossoms, start to bloom became the season of meeting and farewell for the Japanese. Before that, from the 7th century to 1872, the Japanese authority defined their financial year from January to December. From 1872 to 1886, the financial year was changed three times.


New School Year ceremony in Chu Văn An High School

The first day of school in Vietnam is September 5. However, nowadays students begin going to school in early or mid-August.



Generally, around February 1, dependent on individual state/territory (and schoolmarm or private school system).

New ZealandEdit

Generally, the last week in January, or first week in February.

Papua New GuineaEdit

Generally, the third week in January.

South PacificEdit

Generally, the school terms starts from the 11th of February.


Belgium and The NetherlandsEdit

The first day of school in Belgium is on September 1 or the first following Monday if September 1 falls on Saturday or Sunday.


The first day of school in Bulgaria is September 15, or the first work day if September 15 is a Saturday or Sunday.


The school year in Croatia doesn't have a fixed date, but it usually starts in the first half of September. It ends in the middle of June. Until 2019, school year started on the first Monday of September.


The school year in France doesn't have a fixed date, but it starts at the beginning of September, in the first 2 weeks. However, in Metropolitan France it is on September 1 or the first following Monday if September 1 falls on Saturday or Sunday. It ends at the beginning of July, leaving approximately 2 months of summer break.


The first day of school in Estonia is September 1.


The first day of school in Greece is September 11, or the first Monday following if September 11 is a Saturday or Sunday.[6]


In Italy the school year generally starts around mid-September. It ends in the first week of June.


In Latvia the school year always starts on September 1, or the following Monday if September 1 happens to be a Saturday or Sunday.


The first day of school in Lithuania is September 1, or the first Monday following if September 1 falls on Saturday or Sunday.


The Norwegian school year does not have set dates, but starts in the middle of August and ends in mid June. The school year consist of 190 days and the exact dates are set by the County Governor in each county the preceding fall.[7]


According to a 2010 decree of Polish Minister of Public Education, the first day of school for regular compulsory education schools in Poland is on September 1 or the first following Monday if September 1 falls on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The last day is the first Friday after June 18.[8] Previously, according to a similar 2002 decree, the above exception was only for Saturday and Sunday, and the last day was the first Friday after June 18.[9]


In Portugal the school starts at the beginning of September, in the first week. In 2019 the school starts between September 10–13.[10]


Schools in Romania start on a day decided by the ministry of education. Most school years tend to start on Sep 9 or Sep 7 and end on the first week of June. Occasionally, school starts on the 15 or 16 of September.


Schools in Russia (and formerly Soviet Union) historically begin on September 1. This exact date for the country has been fixed by the Decree of the Council of the People's Commissars in 1935[11] and was established officially by the Decree of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union No. 3018-X in 1980. In 1984, September 1 was officially declared to be the Knowledge Day.[12] If it falls on Sunday, most schools opt to hold on Sunday a traditional ceremonial line-up, which symbolically commences the school year, and begin actual lessons on Monday. Traditionally students bring flowers to the teachers.


The first day of school in Slovakia is September 2, or the first Monday following if September 2 falls on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. September 1 is public holiday in Slovakia (Constitution Day).


The first day of school in the Republic of Ireland is similar to that of the United Kingdom with a school start day usually on September 1, or the first Monday following if September 1 falls on Saturday or Sunday. The school year ends on August 31, but classes end on May 30th. Unlike Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland gets 3 months summer holidays.

United Kingdom (UK)Edit

England, Wales & Northern IrelandEdit

The first day of school for state schools in England and Wales varies by local authority and sometimes by school, but it is nearly always during the first week of September, or occasionally in the second week.[13]


The school term in Scotland begins in mid- to late-August, more than a week earlier than in the rest of the UK. The precise date varies by local authority and sometimes by school.[14]



In Egypt, the academic year usually starts in the late third of September (particularity on the first Saturday of the last 10-day of September). For example, in 2019 school starts on Saturday September 21 – in 2018 it starts on Saturday September 22. These dates are issued by the ministry of education and ministry of higher education and are applicable on almost all the local schools and universities. However, private institutions may put their own starting date – usually they start earlier than the local ones – . The academic year consist of 2 semesters each of them lasts around 15 weeks and may vary depends on the grade that you are in or what are you studying in college.


In Morocco, the academic year commences in September and ends in June/early July Semester 1 (Fall): From September – January Semester 2 (Spring): From February – June/early July


In Tunisia, the academic year commences on September 15 (or the 16th if September 15 falls on a Sunday or religious holiday) and ends on 25 May for middle and high schools, and on June 1 for primary school. Summer is approximately 3 months long.

South AmericaEdit


In Brazil the first day of school is on the first Monday of February, to take 200 school days. The year usually ends in late November or early December. In 2019, for example, first day of school was on February 4 and last on December 12. First semester or autumn academic term lasted from Monday, February 4, 2019 to Friday, July 12, 2019, while second semester or spring term lasted from Monday, July 29, 2019 to Thursday, December 12, 2019.


Trinidad and TobagoEdit

In Trinidad and Tobago the academic year is decided by the Ministry of Education. The year begins in the first or second week of September and generally ends the last week of June. Public schools usually open on Monday and private schools begin on the Tuesday or Wednesday. There are three semesters which are separated by Christmas break (mid December to early January - two weeks) and Easter break (mid April to early May - two weeks). Schools usually close in the last week of June for two months for July/August holiday.


  1. ^ "Calendario Escolar 2012" (PDF). Ministerio de Educación Pública. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 31, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  2. ^ (retrieved September 15, 2017)
  3. ^
  4. ^ "New policy sparks confusion over school start dates in Qatar – Doha News". September 4, 2013. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  5. ^ "School Terms and Holidays". Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  6. ^ "School Holidays in Athens". Angloinfo Athens. Angloinfo. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  7. ^ "Skoleferier i Norge". (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  8. ^ Dz.U. 2010 nr 186 poz. 1245 Rozporządzenie Ministra Edukacji Narodowej z dnia 5 października 2010 r. zmieniające rozporządzenie w sprawie organizacji roku szkolnego
  9. ^ Dz.U. 2002 nr 46 poz. 432 Rozporządzenie Ministra Edukacji Narodowej i Sportu z dnia 18 kwietnia 2002 r. w sprawie organizacji roku szkolnego
  10. ^ "Despacho n.º 5754-A/2019, Anexo I". Diário da República Eletrónico. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  11. ^ "День знаний в России: история праздника". Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  12. ^ "Праздник 1 сентября – День знаний: история и традиции. Значение праздника 1 сентября "День знаний". Женский сайт". Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  13. ^ "When are the school Christmas holidays and term dates 2016/2017?". The Telegraph: Education. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  14. ^ "Scottish School Term dates". Scottish Government website. Retrieved September 7, 2017.