Biggest & Smallest Schools in the World

by Sarah O’Neill

Image by Dragonsinger

The size of our schools and in particular, class sizes, have always been a bit of a talking point in Britain. Back in the mid 1980’s, my own secondary school had only 99 pupils in my year, and under 500 in total, which is relatively small – even today, it has just 640 students across five year groups.

This got me wondering, where exactly is the largest school in the world?

Peace vibes from the World’s Biggest School

Well, it turns out that there is a school in India that surpasses all I could imagine in size. The City Montessori School which is in the city of Lucknow, India, has over 33,000 students, and the last known head count was in 2008!

Amazingly, it has over 20 different campuses that are dotted all over the city, and is looked at with much respect by the rest of India.

The City Montessori is actually a private school following the Baha’i faith, but it’s also well known for its commitment to spreading the message of world peace through for example regularly arranging massive international events which aim to foster and nurture the ideals of world peace and world unity.

They are so prolific in their efforts, that they are the first school in the world to be selected for an award by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Education).

They won the Prize for Peace Education in 2002!

I wonder if they ever have to encounter scraps in the playground or bullying in the toilets, like I had to!

Wouldn’t it be great if all schools could have such a great overriding message?

University – challenged!

But even this school looks tiny compared to the largest university in the world. The Allama Iqbal Open University in Islamabad (Pakistan) has a staggering 1.8 million students! That’s the population of the whole of Northern Ireland! I wouldn’t want to be the person taking the register at that school -  it would probably just take a couple of months!

The main plus point of this school is that it supports wholly educational opportunities for women/ The education there is provided low cost for those who would not normally be able to access education, which means that women from rural areas, the ones that are usually left behind, have been attracted to the University.

The vast majority of the students at Allama Iqbal are therefore female, nothing like a bit of girl power!

This approach has also gained them an award from UNESCO, for their overall contribution to the Pakistani literacy rate.

A class of her own

On the other side of the coin, we come to the smallest school in the world. Well, you can’t get smaller than one-to -one, can you?

There is an elementary school near Sanhe in Southern China that boasts just one solitary pupil and one 61 year old teacher called Li, who teaches all the core subjects himself, including maths, Chinese, Korean, History, Geography and P.E.

When the school was built there were more than 400 students in the catchment area, but during the 90’s more and more people left the mountain village so that they could find work in the towns and cities. Finally there were just 10 students left; the decision was made to close the school.

But the new school was over two hours away, so the children were then given the choice, whether or not to register and board at the new school.

Han Hongyang’s parents could not afford the fees and so she became the last student in town.

Unfortunately for Han, her teacher is due to retire in six months time, but amazingly, the local authorities have decided to send another teacher for her exclusive use, until graduation!

What was/is your school like?

Big?  Small?

Please share!


This post was written by Sarah O’Neill

Sarah O’Neill likes to look at the quirky things in life. She also writes blogs for School Stickers who are suppliers not just of school badges, but also prefect badges, sports badges and school council badges. 

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Wilma Flato June 17, 2012 at 10:49 am

Simply wish to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity in your post is simply nice and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work.


Justin October 21, 2012 at 5:37 am

Thank you for helping out, excellent info .


Chad Agrawal October 24, 2012 at 12:17 am

Glad to help.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: