Education has surely become one of the most important aspects of the modern world. In order for a society to advance and see an improvement in the wealth and welfare of the citizens, there needs to be a certain level of academic attainment for students to achieve. Public education has become, therefore, a challenge for many countries over the past few decades. However, certain countries have found exceptional ways of improving their education systems and making their students and youth some of the most educated groups in the world.
Having a good education system is usually the main priority of countries well-developed. The correlation between the quality of education and the quality of living is undeniable. Of course, not every country has the same emphasis when it comes to the quality of the education system, but it usually shows, especially in the results of the PISA test and overall international rankings. Therefore, in the following paragraphs, we are going to take a look at the best education systems in the world, what makes them so efficient and what are the characteristics of a good education system. But, before we begin, it is important to outline the indicators of the good education system;
- Quality of the teachers, as well as teachers to student ratio,
- Number of passing students in primary/elementary schools,
- Number of passing students in secondary schools or high schools,
- Number of students enrolled in colleges,
- Number of students with bachelor’s and master’s degrees,
- Financial aid and government funding,
- Equality and accessibility of education.
Finland – No.1 Education System in The World
For the past few years, Finland has been ranked the no.1 education system in the world. This country has been a top contender on every Program for International Student Assessment survey, and it outperforms countries like the United States, and even Japan and South Korea regularly. One of the reasons the Finnish education system is so good lies in the culture of the country itself. Education has always been extremely important in the Finnish culture; children in Finland don’t start formal education until the age of 7, but even before that age, they are exposed to education through the so-called ‘forest school’. These schools are based on the principle ‘learning through play’, and later on into their education, children are experiencing school completely differently than we are used to. Here’s a list of other important reasons that make the Finnish education system so efficient;
- Education is accessible to everyone; education in Finland is a constitutional right and everyone has access to it, regardless of the background and financial situation;
- Speaking of financial situation, education is no financial struggle in Finland, as it is free. Because it is a fundamental right, the Finnish government has made it clear that there are no tuition fees and education is extended to every citizen. All Finnish schools and universities are publicly funded and all pass a quality assurance audit carried out by the Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council.
- Finland promotes learning for learning’s sake, and the love of learning is a major thing in this country. The importance of education and learning is simply instilled and firmly established in the youth of this country. This has been achieved by enabling everyone to enter the workforce easily, so students don’t feel the pressure to learn forcefully in the competitive surroundings.
- The Finnish teachers are all highly educated, and at least hold a master’s degree. These people undergo constant professional development, even basic-ed teachers. The emphasis is always on learning and continuous development, not only for the students but for the teachers as well. Everyone is simply supposed to be on the same page, keep pace with the times, technologies and modern innovations so that the students can get the best education possible.
- There is no classism in Finland, which means that regardless of the income and the background of a family, each student is able to receive the same, high-quality education as anyone else. The opportunities are equal for everybody, and they become more apparent the higher the education.
- Finnish students are encouraged to not only study and learn but also to stay active. As of recently, students are required to take their bikes to school, instead of arriving by bus or cars. This way the government is promoting physical activity, as well as raising awareness of environmentalism and climate change.
The Finnish National Agency for Education believes that every child, a future student, needs to be able to access information and build themselves, with the help of the country, to become a responsible member of the society.
Students are always encouraged to progress and advance, improve their abilities and gain new skills. Students are learned responsibility from a very young age, so parents are not stressed over their children’s education and career. Moreover, being a teacher and a professor is a highly respectable job in Finland, so surely students, as well as the parents, are gaining enormous benefits from this.
Other Outstanding Education Systems
Right after the Finnish education system is the Japanese education system, which has been considered one of the best for decades now. Japan is currently one of the best performing countries when it comes to science, math, literacy and especially in the OECD group (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). Just the fact that high school is not compulsory but that the enrollment rate is 99% speaks for itself. The Japanese education system is characterized by the following principles, which make is so efficient;
- Entrance exams – even though these exams seem too drastic to us in the Western world, to Japanese students these exams are everything. They can change the whole career and education path of the student, so everyone works very hard to pass the entrance exam.
- Equality at education – regardless of who you are, what your background is and whether your family is rich or poor, everybody is treated the same when it comes to education. And, everybody is required to wear a uniform, eat at school and pass the same exams as other students. Education in Japan really shows what it means to be equal.
- Manners and knowledge – Japanese students are taught good manners even before they start going to school. Students are always taught to respect the elderly, the parents, the teachers as well as their surroundings, nature and the animals. The Japanese education always puts emphasis on good manners, so every student is taught generosity, empathy and compassionate behavior throughout the school. It has been deemed important for children and students to also know concepts like justice, self-control, quality, priority, etc.
- Responsibility at school – Japanese schools do not employ janitors; the students are responsible to clean the school. They are divided into teams, and each team has to tackle certain tasks at school; some students clean the classrooms, some take care of the school garden, some clean the hallways, the boards, etc. This is considered to be an excellent team-building activity for the students.
2. South Korea
For several years now, South Korea has been at the very top when it comes to the best education systems in the world. Some measures even show that South Korea is the most educated country in the world, as 70% of 24-35-year-olds in this nation have completed some form of high education (20% more than the US). The school system in South Korea is itself exceptional and always ranks among the best school systems in the world, especially in the OECD group. South Korean universities are also ranked among the best in the world by the National Higher Education Systems and the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index. Here’s an outline of what makes the South Korean education system effective;
- In tune with technology – one of the first things people notice about the South Korean education system is that it keeps abreast of technological progress in this country. The use of technology is indispensable in South Korean classrooms; from the latest computers, LCD screens, smart boards, internet, to tablets and VR sets, South Korean schools make technology a part of the learning process. Technology has shown to be an incredible asset in education, as it helps students learn faster and plays a role in the development of deeper academic skills.
- Involvement of parents – in South Korea, teachers and professors are required to communicate with students’ parents regularly. Parents are directly involved in their children’s education, and so far, this has shown as an excellent push for the students to do better. Parents usually help their children stay on the right path and motivate them, alongside with the teachers, to advance in their studies.
- A constant inspiration for learning – in South Korea, students are highly motivated. Some say the motivation arises from the high-pressure and competitive environment, while others say it is just a pure will to succeed. Either way, teachers and parents always offer praise for the students which in turn motivates them towards academic excellence. Students in South Korea also set very high expectations and they want to live up to them, and of course, make their parents proud.
Denmark is one of the biggest surprises when it comes to its rank on the list of the best education systems in the world. Currently ranking at the 4th place, Denmark has seen a great improvement in the education system and is one of the best places in the world for studying, especially when it comes to international students. Denmark has a typical European education system than includes primary school, secondary school, and college. However, what makes Denmark such an educated country is the fact that learning doesn’t stop with graduation. Danish adults, up to 64 years of age, usually take some kind of educational courses as a part of their life-long, continuous knowledge build. Here are some other things that make the Danish education system one of the best in the world;
- Free ‘people’s school’ – in Denmark, all children up to the age of 16 have access to tuition-free government folkeschoolor people’s school. These schools are available to anyone, regardless of their background. However, many locals turn to private schools, while foreigners tend to attend people’s schools. In Denmark, the situation is a bit different when it comes to classes, income, and background.
- Unique teaching style – the Danish education system is based on students’ independence; this means that the student is encouraged to be self-disciplined and responsible for their own learning. Therefore, the attendance of the students is not checked, as students can come and go as they want. Moreover, the teachers believe that it is a student’s choice of what will they make of their education, but they will receive all the knowledge they can have if they want to.
- Openness to international students – Danish schools are very open to having foreign students. The idea behind accepting so many foreign students lies in the wish to create a diverse society as well as to provide education to not only locals but also foreign students too. Denmark is traditionally open and inclusive and very welcoming of international students.
- Paid to go to school – in Denmark, full-time students are eligible for limited income support from the government, regardless of whether they’re employed or not. The government wants to help the students by aiding them financially and helping them pay their expenses while studying. The higher the education you’re pursuing, the more help you’ll receive from the government.
The education system surely varies from one country to the other, but we can say that the values are the same. Students are always encouraged to take responsibility, to study and try reaching the best possible results, as well as to be great members of the society by also working on their characters and intellect. Regardless of the country or the system, students are also encouraged to study through financial aid and other factors that enable stressless graduation (like the guaranteed entrance into the workforce after graduation). Because of the care for education, all these countries have become some of the best countries to live in. They have simply realized that education is the basis of their citizens’ success, and ultimately, the success of their country.