Where can people get world's best edcuation?

British company Economist Intelligence Unit conducted an interesting study, in which it tried to find the factors that have greatest impact on education, and which countries can boast of having best education systems. As a result, the first three places went to Finland, South Korea and Hong Kong. Russia took the 20th place.

Leaders and outsiders

After the top three, the places were distributed as follows: the fourth place - Japan, the fifth - Singapore. The top ten of the countries with best education system also included the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada. The USA took the 17th place on the ranking. Russia, according to this study, is on the 20th place in the world in terms of education. Our country moved for Hungary and Slovakia that took the 18th and 19th places respectively.

The authors of the study (the research embraced the period from 2006 to 2010) took account of a variety of data, in particular, the percentage of school leavers, the people entering higher education institutions, the number of university graduates, as well as international tests that determine the levels of literacy.

Success Factors

Michael Barber, the head of the research at Pearson, claims that one of the main factors influencing the level of education in the country is the position of teachers. The salary level is not the main indicator at this point. The position of a teacher in the society is much more important, Barber believes, just like the place of public education in the system of values. The higher the level of state care for teachers, the higher the professional level of teachers.  Consequently, the levels of education in the country as a whole are higher too.

The success of Asian countries in the ranking can be explained by the increased attention of authorities to this sphere of life, as well as by the scrutiny of parents to their children's success in education.

Leaders and their ways

Why do Finland, South Korea and Hong Kong take the lead? What are the peculiarities of their education?

So, Finland. First of all, we should point out the significant attention to education on the part of the state. Education in Finland is free for all. Finnish schools provide free textbooks, free food and school buses. Preschool organizations are also available - they work from six in the morning until six in the evening, which is very convenient for parents working in different shifts. Higher education is also free of charge, including for foreign students. Educational institutions at all levels are equipped just perfectly.

As a result of reforms conducted during the 1980s, the country achieved enormous progress in the field of education. Education reforms significantly increased the standard of living in Finland, which, by the way, used to be a part of the Russian Empire. The relationships between teacher and student in Finland are friendly. The teacher's authority in Finland is very high - it is expressed in high wages and social respect.

Interestingly, one in four teachers in Finland is a man. There are men among preschool teachers in Finland too. That is not surprising - teacher's salary in the country allows a man to support his family.

In Finland, the level of professional education is quite high. The country has an extensive network of vocational schools, and one does not need to take special exams to enroll them. The extensive network of well-equipped libraries also contributes to high level of literacy and education of the Finnish population.

The second place in the ranking of countries with a high level of education is taken by South Korea. What is there so special in the education of this country?

In South Korea, education is a necessity for every Korean who wants to move up the social ladder, and the state helps such people in every way. There are private and state-run higher education institutions in this country. The level and authority of the latter is higher, as a rule.

In the past decade, the level of South Korean universities has grown significantly, which can be seen in the growing number of foreign students, who obtain there latest theoretical and practical knowledge. South Korea's leading universities receive generous financial grants that provide them with a high level of teaching staff, as well as modern scientific equipment.

The authority of education, especially higher education, is very high in the country. Without education, a person can not take any proper place in the hierarchical society of South Korea. Therefore, the role of a teacher in the society is very high. This is reflected in a high level of teachers' salary, and in the attitude to this profession in the society. After all, only a teacher in South Korea can give people a start in life and prepare them for various exams that determine their future. Teacher's role is very important according to cultural traditions of South Korea.

Higher education in South Korea is paid, but the tuition at universities is relatively low - around 1,500 - 2,000 US dollars a year. Therefore, higher education in the country is widely affordable.

Hong Kong is the third in the ranking. Why Hong Kong?

The fact is that the education system in Hong Kong is very similar to that of the UK and U.S., but is different at the same time. Hong Kong universities rank high in various international rankings from the point of view of the quality of education; their diplomas are recognized worldwide.

In Hong Kong, there are eight public universities, in which people can engage in professional training or complete secondary education. Universities offer a variety of disciplines; classes are conducted in the English language.

A characteristic feature of education in Hong Kong is an opportunity to experience the local culture, language and traditions.  The experience of working in China has been receiving more and more value in the West lately. Educational institutions in Hong Kong pay great attention to the harmonious and comprehensive development of all possible sides of students.

Russia, as we mentioned above, takes the last, 20th place in the British ranking. We will not talk about the role of teachers in the Russian society, of their salary, about the role of education in achieving career heights, about the availability and quality of higher education, as well as secondary and vocational education in Russia. Russia urgently needs to pay close attention to the level of education in the country; otherwise we may lose the people and the country.

Sergei Vasilenko


Read the original in Russian 

Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov