The Best Education Systems in the World

Thursday, January 31, 2019

If you are one of those parents looking for ways to make children smarter, this article is for you. Even if you’re not, you will read about the major issues in public education today and how the best education systems in the world tackle them. It’s always interesting to know how the other parts of the world function, isn’t it?

School education has a prominent role in children’s overall development. The better education a child receives, the better his position in the later parts of his life. Schools aren’t meant to only provide someone with knowledge. The best education systems help a kid to evolve and prosper, by developing his abilities. Are you ready to dive in to learn about some of the educational problems and solutions to them?

In her book – The Smartest Kids in the World – Amanda Ripley talks about the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) test. OECD developed the test to check children’s problem-solving abilities. Amanda is a US journalist, and she analyses the performance of different countries in the test. She also discusses the way to get past the greatest challenges in education today in the US.

Listen to the summary at Blinkist or listen to the book at Audible.

Be your children’s coach

One of the facts of the South Korean education system is that the parents take a huge role in educating and motivating their children.
One of the facts of the South Korean education system is that the parents take a huge role in educating and motivating their children.

When the first results of PISA came out in 2001, everyone was in a state of disbelief with the poor performance of the US students. The performance was consistent in later years too, and so was that of South Koreainfo-icon. The only difference was that South Korea was consistently high in the rankings.

While one of the reasons is that the Korean students study a lot, another is that the parents take part in teaching them. And why is that so? It’s the pressure to get in one of the top three universities. They study at school, prepare for entrance exams and also go to private tutors. However, the adverse effects of competition in the education system in Korea are somewhat minimal because of the parent’s support.

Read more: What are the Happiest Places in the World?

Unlike their American counterparts who act as cheerleaders, Korean parents act as coaches. They devote time to systematically teaching them, using workbooks and practical examples right from the time they are young. Thus, a fair performance.

Educating the teachers

It is required for a Finnish teacher to go through six years of intensive training.
It is required for a Finnish teacher to go through six years of intensive training.

Another of the best education systems is in Finlandinfo-icon. Similar to the Koreans, Finnish students also maintained high rankings in PISA every year. But one of the interesting Finland school system facts is that the teachers have to perform their best. Not everyone can be a teacher there. They have to give entrance tests, and only about 20% make it to the next level – training.

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Yes, the Finnish teachers have to go through six years of intensive training (one year of practical included). All these measures are taken for the teacher training results in a high quality of education and consistent top ranks in the PISA test.

Setting uniform goals

The education in Poland has made some surprising improvements over the years.
The education in Polandinfo-icon has made some surprising improvements over the years.

Next in the list is the Poland education system. The students from Poland made significant improvements in consecutive PISA results, and they are competing with the US. While Poland doesn’t have the toughest education system in the world, they designed standard nationwide tests for children at various stages.

Not only do the children have to meet up the expectations, but the teachers also are encouraged to develop themselves with time. While those test results showed which students need help, they also decided the institute which the child can attend for further studies. The tests thus, keep them motivated to perform better and get the institute they desire.

What is wrong with the American education system?

Why is the American education system lagging behind the best education systems of today?
Why is the American education system lagging behind the best education systems of today?

We already saw how some of the best education systems function. And now, we also know that the standard of education in the US is not good when compared to others. The number of teachers in the US is growing every year but not the quality of education. In Finland, for example, the teachers who pass the exams used to be among the top three performers in high school.

While in the US, only about 20% of the teachers were among the top three in their high schools. What more, the American teacher’s practical training lasts just for few weeks on an average – a mere 12 to 15 weeks of practical training. The parents also are at fault, by not taking an active part in educating their children.

Read more: 18 Reasons Why the American Education System is Lagging Behind

Another problem is that the tracking of students starts early in the US. While other countries teach the same content to all students at the same level, the US education system distinguishes between the regular and high-performing students. In Poland, this division of students based on academic performance takes place at the age of 16, but in the US, some schools do it at the elementary level itself.

Student’s performance is directly proportional to a country’s economic performance. So, if America wants to have a better future, it needs to undertake structural reforms such as –

  • Adoption of standard curriculum across the nation.
  • Implementation of standardised tests at different stages.
  • Ensure high-end performance from the teachers.
  • And give the students more time before tracking them.

But that’s not all; parents also need to stop cheerleading and start coaching their children. Now is the time to start and make America great again.

Abhijeet Kumar a freelance content writer for
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.