In the News: The 11 Best School Systems in the World

[March 2017] Each year, the World Economic Forum releases its Global Competitiveness Report on the state of the world economies. The Independent took it a step further and used this data to drill down into finding which countries have the best education systems. Here are the 11 they uncovered (with several ties):

9. Japan – This is one of the top countries for literacy, science and math. High school enrollment is close to 98 percent in Japan.

9. Barbados – The country’s government has invested heavily in education, which has resulted in a literacy rate of 98 percent, one of the highest in the world.

9. New Zealand – Three types of secondary schools exist in New Zealand: state schools, which educate approximately 85 percent of students, state-integrated schools (private schools that have been integrated into the state but keep their special charter) educate 12 percent and private schools educate 3 percent.

8. Estonia – Estonia spends 4 percent of its GDP on education, according to 2015 figures.

6. Ireland – This country is tied at number six, but a recent report has uncovered that Ireland’s spending on education fell 15 percent behind the developed world during the height of the financial crisis, 2008 to 2013. This may suggest its education system could suffer in the future.

6. Qatar – This country is investing heavily in improving educational standards as part of its Vision 2030 program to make the country self-sufficient. The BBC reported in 2012 that Qatar was “becoming one of the most significant players in the field of education innovation, supporting a raft of projects from grassroots basic literacy through to high-end university research.”

5. Netherlands – Dutch children were found to be the happiest in the world in a 2013 Unicef study, leading the way globally in educational well-being. Students in the Netherlands report little education-related pressure and stress.

4. Singapore – Singapore scores very high in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests, which measure and compare the performance of students across different countries. Singapore does, however, have the reputation of putting its students under a lot of stress at a young age.

2. Belgium – The Fullbright Commission in the U.S., which organizes student exchanges with Belgium and Luxembourg says, “Education enjoys high priority, and the largest share of the regional governments’ annual budget in Belgium. Complete systems of public and private schools are available to all children between the ages of 4 and 18, at little or no cost.”

2. Switzerland – Just 5 percent of children attend private schools in Switzerland. Lessons are taught in different languages depending on the region of Switzerland, with German, French or Italian the most common languages of instruction.

1. Finland – Finland routinely tops rankings of global education systems and is famous for having no banding systems – all pupils, regardless of ability, are taught in the same classes. As a result, the gap between the weakest and the strongest pupils is the smallest in the world. Finland recently announced it would do away with all school subjects by 2020.

Read the entire article on The Independent.