Education is one of those things that is considered pretty 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 interesting, particularly when you learn that the USA has recently been ranked in 17th Position, a long way below many European countries.
SO WHO IS AT THE TOP?
Well interestingly the top is very close between two very different countries:
FINLAND & SOUTH KOREA
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.
OK, SO HERE ARE THE TOP 20 COUNTRIES:
- South Korea
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
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
Teaching 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