Which Countries Have the Best Education System?

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Education is one of those things that is considered very important throughout the world, but it still remains that not every country does it the same and indeed some countries are better at it than others. In the west we often assume that our own education systems are the best, but that may not actually be true. An education group called Pearson periodically test such assumptions by comparing measurable things like grades and attempt to rank different countries according to the success of their education system.

Needless to say, results vary, but the results are still very interesting, particularly when you learn that the USA, long known to have one of the best education systems has recently been ranked in 14th position, a long way below many european and asian countries.

Which countries have been classed as the most successful in offering education to their citizens?

The Social Progress Imperative has compiled research on basic education levels throughout the world and presented it via the Social Progress Index; this offers a rigorous and comprehensive way of measuring social progress, including – and most relevant for our current interests – a score for a country’s level of access to basic knowledge including factors like adult literacy rate, primary school enrolment, secondary school enrolment, and women’s mean years in school.

These components determine which countries offer better educational opportunities. We’ve compiled the list of the ten best-performing countries when it comes to access to basic education, according to research from the United Nations as brought together in the SPI basic education ratings:

Read on to find out how and why these ten countries are so well-educated. (Picture:Francisco Osorio – Students at university)

Countries with the best education system

Key findings: 2016
East Asian nations continue to outperform others. South Korea tops the rankings, followed by Japan (2nd), Singapore (3rd) and Hong Kong (4th). All these countries’ education systems prize effort above inherited ‘smartness’, have clear learning outcomes and goalposts, and have a strong culture of accountability and engagement among a broad community of stakeholders.
Scandinavian countries, traditionally strong performers, are showing signs of losing their edge. Finland, the 2012 Index leader, has fallen to 5th place; and Sweden is down from 21st to 24th.
Notable improvements include Israel (up 12 places to 17th), Russia (up 7 places to 13th) and Poland (up four places to 10th).
Developing countries populate the lower half of the Index, with Indonesia again ranking last of the 40 nations covered, preceded by Mexico (39th) and Brazil (38th).

Key findings: 2012
These two countries have similarities in their education systems, but many differences too. South Korea it could be argued is one of the most dedicated countries in the world. Children often attend school 7 days a week and do homework from a very young age.
In both Korea and Finland though, education is held in high regards and teachers are treated with great respect (equal to how we revere doctors or lawyers in the west).
Interestingly, South Korea also score ‘moderately proficient’ in English speaking ability, which is a good result for an Asian country. They actually speak English better than the French do, which is probably due in part to their strong emphasis of English learning and a high number of native TEFL teachers working over there.

Top 20 countries with the best education system 2012

1. Finland – 2. South Korea – 3. Hong Kong – 4. Japan – 5. Singapore – 6.UK – 7. Netherlands – 8. New Zealand – 9. Switzerland – 10. Canada – 11. Ireland – 12. Denmark – 13. Australia – 14. Poland – 15. Germany – 16. Belgium – 17. USA – 18. Hungary – 19. Slovakia – 20. Russia.

Top 20 countries with the best education system 2016

1.South Korea

Japan and south-Korea have fierce competition for the 1st rank. Koreans defeated Japan in 3 levels. Japan despite investing in childhood education is compromised in some rankings as no#2 and almost tying with Japan in the ranks. Do you know that children in South Korea attend school often seven-day a week? The national education budget estimated last year was $11,300,000,000. The literacy rate is total 97.9% out of which males are sharing 99.2% and 96.6% of females.
The GDP (PPP) per capita estimated in 2014 is $34,795.

The technology-based educational structure has provided the nation with some great figures in the knowledge and insight.
The GDP nearly 5.96 trillion USD is well evident to prove the claim.

The strong and highly ranked primary education system is none less than 3rd rank in the competition.
The GDP (PPP) per capita is U$D 64,584 is also number 3rd in the world.

4.Hong Kong
The school education management is pretty much in the way as UK model of education. The educational budget for the last year was $39, 420 per capita. The primary, secondary and higher education levels are exemplary in their approach and work. English and Cantonese Chinese are the mainstream languages for educational texts. The 94.6% literacy rate is making a pretty good sense about the numbers.
The GDP (PPP) per capita accumulated in 2014 is $404.892 billion.

The old champion is losing ground to its asian rivals. A number of folks still consider Finland as no#1 in the best educational system which exactly isn’t the fact anymore. The premature child admission is a big drawback in the system. The no tuition fees system has an annual educational budget of €11.1 billion.
The country’s Gross domestic product wasn’t less than $36,395 (per capita).

With the devolution of the Education in UK, the individual governments are administering the matters relating education on their own. The Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and English governments are minding their businesses on an individual basis instead of a collective dealing under kingdom’s authorities. The Pearson has ranked UK second in the European ranks and given the rank of #6 in the worldwide ratings in their 2014 publication. However, as a matter of fact Scottish system has a slight edge over the England when it comes to comparative competitiveness.
The GDP per capita is 21st highest in the world with $38,711.

English and French are the primary levels for interacting with bookish knowledge. The literacy rates are not less than 99% (Both male & female). The attainment ratio is also recording good percentages. The college graduates have the world’s highest ratio. The Canadians follow compulsion in the education up to the 16 (most provinces) or 18 years (exception for a couple). The educational calendar varies from 180-190 days. The results will be impressive to a great extent after prioritising the investments in childhood education.
GDP per Capita: $44,656 Canada is investing 5.4% of its Gross Domestic Product in the education sector.

The low investments, weak planning and management in the high school education, have put Netherlanders on 8th in the ranking.
GDP per Capita: $42,586

The literacy rate is 99% for each male and female. The education in the country is free for all levels from primary to third or college/university level. The students from the European Union are the only to be charged for fees and funds, mainly the tuition fees.
The Irish government is having an investment of 8.759 billion euro annually on the education.

The polish ministry of education is heading the business in the country. The Pearson and Economist combine ranked the country as the 4th best in Europe and the no#10 in the world on the accounts of its well established primary, secondary (lower and upper) educational bases.
GDP per Capita: $21,118

The Denmark’s educational structure consists of Pre-school, primary, secondary, higher and adult education. The secondary education further divided into gymnasium, higher preparatory, higher commercial, and higher technical and vocational education examination programs. Likewise, post-secondary education also includes a number of programs. The education is compulsory for the children up to the age of 16. The “Folkeskole” or post-secondary education isn’t mandatory, but 82% of the students are enrolled which is a damn positive thing for the nation. The educational and UN’s Human development indexes are among the highest in the world.
GDP per Capita: $57,998

Germany is dedicated to developing one of the best educational systems in the world. The education is fully a state matter and hence has nothing to do with the federal government. The kindergarten is optional, but the secondary education is compulsory. Secondary education follows five types of schools. German universities are among one of the world’s best institutes and a powerhouse to impart education in Europe.
GDP per Capita: $41,248

There is much that can be done to improve the ranks as the country has never prioritised or paid heed to the childhood and primary education. The literacy rate is rounded off to 100%. A World Bank survey figured the 54% of Russian labor force as graduated which is undoubtedly the highest achievement in college level education in the world. The current educational expenditures are above 20 billion USD of the year 2011.
GDP per Capita: $14,645

14.United States
Many would fancy US as the nation’s top ranked in the education systems which is a far off thing. Despite a well developed and one of the strongest economies in the world, the educational systems are ranked are not even cracking in the top 10. The $1.3 trillion (overall) national educational budget is earning a literacy rate of 99% (both male & female). 81.5 million Students are enrolled annually with 38% in primary, 26% secondary and 20.5 million making to post-secondary. 85% of the students have attained the secondary diploma while other 30% of the post-secondary diploma holders are also estimated. All the citizens are entitled to free education until high school education.
GDP per Capita: $54,980 (6th highest in the world)

The annual budget is more than $490 million more than 5.10% of GDP in 2009. The English is the primary mode of education in the country. The primary literacy rate is nearly 2 million. The nation owns 99% literacy rate. Secondary diplomas mark a percentage of 75 while post-secondary diploma has 34% attainment. The states and territories are almost in full control of their respective educational systems and boards. The PISA has evaluated the Australian education system in terms of reading, science and mathematics as 6th, 7th & 9th. The Pearson ranked Australian education as #13 in the world.
GDP per Capita: $44,346

16.New Zealand
The national education spending incurred by the ministry is NZ$13,183 million for the session 2014-15. English & Maori are the mainstream languages to get educated. The poor primary test scores are a major setback to improve ranks. The PISA accumulates the country 7th in science and reading each while 13ht in math. The education index amassed by HDI ranks country highest in the world but it only assesses the childhood years spent at school instead of the achievement levels.
GDP per Capita: $30,493

The approximately 28 billion Shekel budget manages the educational business in the country. Hebrew and Arabic support the education in the country. The literacy rate of both males and females is cracking the 100% mark. The primary, middle and high school education make the comprehensive education system of the country. OECD ranked Israel as second most educated nation in the world in 2012. The report revealed the fact that 78% of investments being drawn are public while 45% of the citizens have made to high school or University/college education. The lower rank suggests the very common reason which is obviously poor investment levels in primary and child education.
GDP per Capita: $35,658

Belgium has a diverse education system mainly financed, run and administered by Flemish, German-speaking and French. The federal government has to play a minimal role in sponsoring and funding the community’s education systems. The education in the country is compulsory up to secondary schooling. All the communities follow the same stages of education including basic, preschool, primary, secondary, higher, university and vocational levels. The UN’s education index ranked country 18th in the world.
GDP per Capita: $38,826

19.Czech Republic
The education is free and has compulsion up to the age of 15. The education system mainly has five divisions including pre-school, elementary, high school, colleges, and universities.
GDP per Capita: $28,086

The education is purely a matter taken by the cantons. The primary education is obligatory for the children in the Swiss state. 10 of the total universities in the confederation are owned and run by the cantons while the remaining two are under federal jurisdiction managed and controlled by State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation. Basel is well-known for hosting the centuries-old university of Swiss confederation founded in 1460 and well-known for the medicine and chemical research. The Switzerland has the second highest rank after Australia for enrolment of foreign students in tertiary education. The country owns a relative higher numbers of Nobel Laureates. The country is ranked 25th in science, 8th in math and 15th in overall positions. The Global Competitiveness Report released by World Economic Forum ranked country no#1.
GDP per Capita: 47,863 (8th highest in the world)

Achieving Educational Success

The report has compared the best and worst educational systems and has found what seem to be the strongest factors in determining the success of the education system and interestingly money spent is not all that important!

All of the best educated countries have education of one of the most culturally important parts of life. In other words, education is prized and parents, teachers and even students care about the results.

Traits Of Educational Success

10-0094Teaching is held in high regard as a career and brings elevated social status, even if not necessarily being a well-paid career choice.

A good education is also prized socially and even children want to do well so that they can be considered to be well educated.

But before you move to Asia seeking a better education for your family, you may be interested to hear how Finland do things. Oh and if you were wondering, Finland scored 4th position in terms of English speaking ability in 2012, so if you want to teach English abroad, there may be some valuable career options there too.
School starts at 7 years
No homework for young children
No exams until you turn 13
All classes are mixed ability
Max 16 students in science class
Lots of break time every day
Teacher training to masters level
Teacher training is paid for by government