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Orbis scholae is an academic journal published by Charles University, Prague. It features articles on school education in the wider socio-cultural context. It aims to contribute to our understanding and the development of school education, and to the reflection of teaching practice and educational policy.


Recording and Reporting School Attendance and Absence: International Comparative Views on Attendance Statistics in Sweden, Germany, England, and Japan

Susanne Kreitz-Sandberg, Åsa Backlund, Ulf Fredriksson, Joakim Isaksson, Maria Rasmusson, Malin Gren Landell

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14712/23363177.2023.9
published online: 07. 06. 2023


There is general consensus on the negative consequences of school non-attendance, but from an international comparative perspective, it is surprising how few studies have compared school attendance problems (SAPs) in different societies and education systems. In this article, SAPs are analysed through the lens of official statistics in four countries with different education systems: England, Japan, Germany (represented by two federal states), and Sweden. The purpose of this article is to investigate which data on school attendance and absence are available in four different countries and to facilitate a comparison between school attendance statistics and possibly different conceptualisations of SAPs. The article analyses statistics and official data collected by national school authorities and education agencies. Backgrounds within systems are provided and differences between the countries are analysed. England and Japan provide official data to the public on a regular basis, while Sweden and most federal states in Germany do not. A lower threshold for how much absence is considered problematic is found for Japan, England, and Thuringia (one of the investigated German federal states) compared to Sweden and Berlin (the other German federal state under study). Due to differences in recording and reporting school attendance, it is not possible to compare the quantitative extent of the problem or trends regarding SAPs across the four countries based on the available official school statistics.

keywords: school attendance data; comparative study; national statistics; school absenteeism; school attendance problems

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