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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 1994  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/05/1994   
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Contents >> Education >> Participation in Education: Time spent on education

Participation in Education: Time spent on education

In 1992, those who participated in education did so for approximately six hours a day.

Over the last decade there has been a marked increase in attendance at educational institutions. This has led to an increase in the number of years spent in education for the population as a whole. However, there are marked differences in the average daily time spent on education according to age, labour force status and family circumstances.


Education

Education
in this review refers to full-time, part-time or correspondence study by people aged 15 years and over at any institution whose primary role is educational. Included are schools, higher education establishments, colleges of technical and further education and public and private colleges.

Students and participants in education


In this review, a distinction is made between the terms
students and participants in education. A student is defined as a person who reported that they were currently undertaking study at a school, university, technical college or other educational institution. A participant in education is defined as a person who reported spending some time on educational activity during the days they were surveyed. Persons could thus be classified as students but not participants if they had not undertaken any educational activity during the period they were surveyed e.g. if they were surveyed during a school holiday period. Similarly, persons could be classified as participants in education but not as students if they had undertaken educational activity e.g. job-related training, but did not report that they were undertaking study at an educational institution.

Time spent


Time spent is the average time in minutes per day averaged over a 7 day week. Time spent on education includes:
    • attendance at educational/vocational courses;
    • homework, study and research;
    • associated travel;
    • lunch and other breaks;
    • attendance at other courses;
    • job-related training;
    • careers education;
    • associated communications.



Increasing educational attendance

In 1983, 7% of people aged 15-64 years were undertaking full-time education; by 1993 this had risen to 10%. Most of the increase was due to increased retention of secondary school students (Year 12 retention increased from 41% in 1983 to 77% in 1992) and increased tertiary attendance by those aged 19-24 years.


The proportion of people aged 15-24 years undertaking full-time education increased from 27% in 1983 to 39% in 1993. At the same time the proportion undertaking part-time education remained steady at around 9%. The majority (82%) of students aged 15-24 years attended full-time in 1993, while the majority (76%) of students aged 25-64 years attended part-time.

PROPORTION OF PEOPLE STUDYING

1983
1985
1987
1989
1991
1993
Student status
%
%
%
%
%
%

Aged 15-24 years
      Full-time student
27.2
29.6
32.8
35.0
38.3
39.3
      Part-time student
9.3
9.9
9.1
10.0
9.3
8.9
Aged 25-64 years
      Full-time student
0.5
0.7
0.8
1.0
1.1
1.4
      Part-time student
5.0
5.0
5.4
5.5
5.8
4.4


Source: Survey of Transition from Education to Work


Time spent on activities

In 1992 Australians aged 15 years and over spent an average 2% of their day on education compared to 14% on labour force activity. The time spent on education represented some 6.8 million hours a day. Those who participated in education on a full or part-time basis did so on average for about six hours a day. The time spent on education differed markedly according to age and life-cycle stage.


Time spent on educational activities

The time spent on education is made up of different associated activities. In 1992, approximately 45% of time spent on education was for attendance at educational/vocational courses, 32% of time spent was on homework, research and study, 10% was on associated travel and 6% was on lunch and other breaks.


Of those who reported undertaking educational activity in the 1992 Time Use Survey, people aged 15-24 years reported spending 6 hrs 45 mins a day on educational activities. Of people in this age group, those undertaking secondary education spent the most amount of time, over 7 hours a day, compared to 6 hrs 37 mins for those in other full-time education and almost 5 hours a day for those in part-time education. As expected, those undertaking secondary education spent the greatest amount of time attending classes, while those undertaking other full-time education spent more time on homework, research and study than any other group.

PROPORTION OF EDUCATION TIME SPENT ON SELECTED EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES, 1992



Source: Time Use Survey


Time spent by students

Average time spent on educational activity by students (three hours) is lower than the average time spent by those who participated (six hours). This is because students' time is averaged over days when no educational activity was undertaken (e.g. weekends and school holidays) while participants' time is only averaged over those days when educational activity was actually undertaken. While the latter is the more meaningful figure, it is necessary to use average time spent by students in order to compare and contrast time use for different categories of students. Overall, there was little difference in the average time spent on education by men and women.
International comparison
Australia's education participation rate among people aged 15 years and over is the same as Canada's and the average time spent on education by students in each country is similar.
PARTICIPANTS IN EDUCATION, 1992

Country
Average time spent
Participation rate(a)
mins/day
%

Australia
      Males
384
9
      Females
325
9
Canada
      Males
342
9
      Females
330
9

(a) Proportion of the total population who undertook some education activity in the survey period.

Source: Time Use Survey; Canadian Social Trends



Students and family status

Family status is one of the factors which affects the amount of time a person is able to spend on education. People classified as other family members represented 57% of all those classified as students. They spent the largest amount of time on education, averaging almost four hours a day. This was followed by lone parents with children under 15 years of age who represented 2% of students and averaged about three hours of education a day. Non-family members, who include people living in group households and those living alone, spent just under two and a half hours a day on educational activity. Among couples, those with children under 15 years old spent less time on education than those without them.
AVERAGE TIME SPENT ON EDUCATION BY STUDENTS, 1992

Males
Females
Total
Relationship in household
mins/day
mins/day
mins/day

Husband/wife/partner with child under 15 years present
49
61
54
Husband/wife/partner without child under 15 years present
93
71
82
Lone parent with child under 15 years present
* *
155
182
Lone parent without child under 15 years present
* *
16*
23*
Other family member
237
235
236
Non-family member
116
164
143
All students
178
175
177


Source: Time Use Survey


Students and labour force status

Education, like work, has a constraining effect on other activities because attendance is demanded within specific times and education is not easily carried out simultaneously with other tasks. Of persons studying full-time in May 1993, 30% also worked. The majority of these (90%) were employed part-time. Of persons studying part-time, 86% also worked and of these, 84% were employed full-time
1.

The 1992 Time Use Survey found that, on average, secondary school students spent more time on education than any other group (almost five hours a day) and less time on labour force activity (less than half an hour a day). Full-time tertiary students spent, on average, almost four hours a day on education and an hour and a half on labour force activity while part-time tertiary students spent over an hour a day on education and over four and a half hours on labour force activity. This group spent more time on education and labour force activity combined than full-time students, secondary students or non-students.


Students tend to prefer work in jobs where the hours may be flexible to accommodate their educational requirements. In addition, the amount of time students spend on education can affect the types of jobs they have. Among male students, sales persons, personal service workers and labourers averaged the longest time spent on education; among female students, sales persons and personal service workers spent most time on education, followed by professionals and para-professionals.


Students and other activities

As people become involved in education, the time available for other activities decreases. Students, whether secondary or tertiary, spent 22-24% of their day on education and labour force activity combined, compared to 14% spent by non-students. Most of the difference was taken up with household activity and passive leisure (watching TV, reading etc.).


On average, secondary students spent almost 11 hours a day on personal activity (mainly sleeping), nearly three hours a day on passive leisure and two hours a day on social life and entertainment. They spent equal amounts of time (about an hour and a quarter) on household activity and active leisure pursuits. Among full-time tertiary students the activity pattern was similar with almost ten and a half hours spent on personal activity, two and three-quarters on passive leisure and two hours on social life and entertainment. However, full-time tertiary students spent twice as much time on household activity as on active leisure, two hours and one hour respectively. Part-time students spent less time than other students on all non-labour force and education activities except household work and voluntary work. Apart from personal activity, non-students spent more time on household work than on any other activity.
AVERAGE TIME SPENT ON EDUCATION AND OTHER ACTIVITIES, 1992

Tertiary students

Secondary school students
Full-time students
Part-time students
Non-students




Average time
Proportion of day
Average time
Proportion of day
Average time
Proportion of day
Average time
Proportion of day
Activity
mins/day
%
mins/day
%
mins/day
%
mins/day
%

Education
299
20.8
232
16.1
64
4.5
3
0.2
Labour force
24
1.7
85
5.9
279
19.4
204
14.2
Household
75
5.2
120
8.4
173
12.0
238
16.5
Personal
655
45.5
622
43.2
590
41.0
624
43.4
Voluntary work and community participation
15
1.0
23
1.6
25
1.7
27
1.8
Social life and entertainment
121
8.4
127
8.8
109
7.6
98
6.8
Active leisure
77
5.3
62
4.3
60
4.2
48
3.3
Passive leisure
174
12.1
167
11.6
138
9.6
196
13.7


Source: Time Use Survey


Endnotes

1 Survey of Transition from Education to Work.




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