World’s 10 Most Educational Countries
One indicator of a developed country is how educated its people are . Each country has its own educational system , so it can be difficult to assess outcomes. However, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recognizes the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) as the standard framework for measuring and comparing education statistics globally. The OECD considers countries with the highest percentage of people receiving tertiary education (after high school, including certificate and degree programs) to be the most educated.
Canada’s education policy is clearly effective. Also number one on the OECD’s previous list, its percentage of people with a post-secondary certificate or degree has risen from 56 percent in 2018 to nearly 60 percent in 2022. Early education is compulsory and free. Tertiary education is not mandatory, but the government encourages it by providing prospective students with grants and loans on demand. Canada has fantastic universities, with the University of Toronto and McGill University ranked 26th and 27th in the QS World University rankings in 2022. The country also has excellent vocational schools where students can gain skills after high school.
Since 1868, Japan has followed the three-tier Western education system with its elementary, secondary and university structure. Most Japanese students want to go to university, so they spend a lot of time studying for entrance exams because their admission decision depends on their performance. Science and engineering are more popular courses for boys, while girls generally opt for humanities and social sciences. Japan’s public universities rank higher than private ones, with the University of Tokyo ranked 23rd and Kyoto University 33rd in the QS World University Rankings list.
Children in Luxembourg receive primary education until the age of eleven. There are two types of secondary schools: the more traditional, Lycées secondaire , and the technical, Lycées techniques . The latter provides vocational training, while compulsory education ends in the ninth year. The student can then study for four more years to obtain a degree, if desired. The University of Luxembourg is the country’s first and only traditional university. Students went abroad for higher studies before it was built in 2003. Interestingly, Luxembourg jumped from tenth to third place in the OECD’s list of the top ten most educated countries from 2018 to 2022.
Ranking fourth in the OECD report of the world’s most educated countries, 50 percent of South Korea’s population attains a tertiary level of education. The country places great emphasis on academics. Parents push their children to excel in their middle and high school careers. They also pay a lot of money for private tuition so they can get into good universities and eventually find well-paying jobs. Seoul National University is ranked 36th in the QS World University rankings, but many South Koreans go abroad to pursue university studies.
Israel’s emphasis on education dates back to the Middle Ages, when anti-Semitic Europeans forbade Jews from becoming landowners or farmers. The community had limited choices, so its people focused on careers such as mercantile trade, money lending, accounting, medicine and law. Even in today’s Israel, parents place great emphasis on education. School is compulsory for the first twelve years, and since the economy is based on science and technology, parents encourage their children to take mainly math and science courses in college. More than half of Israel’s adult population holds a college degree.
Universities in the United States occupy five of the top 10 places in the QS World University rankings, with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) leading the list. Each state in the United States has several options for anyone wishing to pursue higher education, and students from around the world come to study at these institutions to illuminate their future prospects. Within the country, however, there are some race and income issues that discourage many students from choosing to go to college. They also become a reason why students drop out without completing their degrees.
Like all the other countries on this list, education is compulsory and free for Irish children. After graduating from secondary school (high school), students can opt for a third-level or university education. Ireland has seven state universities, five of which are among the top 100 in the world. All are free for local and EU students under the government’s “Free Fees Scheme.” It is no wonder that compared to other EU countries, Ireland has the highest percentage of university graduates. According to the OECD’s 2022 report, nearly 50 percent of the country’s adults have completed a post-secondary certificate or degree.
Four UK universities make up the top ten in the 2022 QS World University Rankings list. Like the United States, the UK also attracts many international students. The equivalent of high school are advanced level qualifications (A-Levels), which students complete at age 18. They can then go on to a bachelor’s degree or specialize in learning a skill from a vocational institution. Most colleges and universities also offer a two-year foundation degree, which combines academic and vocational learning. The UK was ranked fifth in the OECD’s 2018 list of the most educated countries, but dropped to eighth in the 2022 list.
There are two educational paths that students can take after high school in Australia . They can engage in vocational education and training (VET) and pass four levels of certification and go on to earn a diploma, or they can proceed to university for a traditional degree. Australian universities are mostly public, and students apply for Study Assist, a student loan program that they can start repaying only after earning a certain income. Many international students also come to study in Australia. The government continues to invest in its students and is particularly eager to get more women involved in STEM programs.
In Finland , students start school at the age of seven; much later than in other countries. There are no standardized tests and only one matriculation exam required for students to apply to university. Vocational training is an equally viable and rewarding option for students who do not wish to go to university. Universities are free, and students plan their degree by choosing which courses and exams they want to take. It may be tenth out of the top ten OECD-educated countries in the world, but experts say Finland has the right approach to education and other countries have much to learn from its people.
Education is a necessity for economic growth and prosperity, but it is also important to ensure that it does not become a source of stress and anxiety. Every country should invest in its young people so that financial worries are not an obstacle for them in pursuing higher studies. The ten most educated countries in the world have many things in common in their approach to education.