Education Rankings by Country 2022

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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." — Nelson Mandela

While education levels vary from country to country, there is a clear correlation between the quality of a country's educational system and its general economic status and overall well-being. In general, developing nations tend to offer their citizens a higher quality of education than the least developed nations do, and fully developed nations offer the best quality of education of all. Education is clearly a vital contributor to any country's overall health.

According to the Global Partnership for Education, education is considered to be a human right and plays a crucial role in human, social, and economic development. Education promotes gender equality, fosters peace, and increases a person's chances of having more and better life and career opportunities.

The annual Best Countries Report, conducted by US News and World Report, BAV Group, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, reserves an entire section for education. The report surveys thousands of people across 78 countries, then ranks those countries based upon the survey's responses. The education portion of the survey compiles scores from three equally-weighted attributes: a well-developed public education system, would consider attending university there, and provides top-quality education. As of 2021, the top ten countries based on education rankings are:

Countries with the Best Educational Systems - 2021 Best Countries Report*

  1. The United States
  2. The United Kingdom
  3. Germany
  4. Canada
  5. France
  6. Switzerland
  7. Japan
  8. Australia
  9. Sweden
  10. The Netherlands

*For the full list of countries' educational systems ranked from best to worst, scroll down.

Ironically, despite the United States having the best-surveyed education system on the globe, U.S students consistently score lower in math and science than students from many other countries. According to a Business Insider report in 2018, the U.S. ranked 38th in math scores and 24th in science. Discussions about why the United States' education rankings have fallen by international standards over the past three decades frequently point out that government spending on education has failed to keep up with inflation.

It's also worthwhile to note that while the Best Countries study is certainly respectable, other studies use different methodologies or emphasize different criteria, which often leads to different results. For example, the Global Citizens for Human Rights' annual study measures ten levels of education from early childhood enrollment rates to adult literacy. Its final 2020 rankings look a bit different:

Countries with the Best Educational Systems - 2020 Global Citizens for Human Rights

  1. Denmark
  2. Finland
  3. Japan
  4. Canada
  5. Sweden
  6. Germany
  7. Israel
  8. Netherlands
  9. Singapore
  10. South Korea

Education Rates of Children Around the World

Most findings and ranking regarding education worldwide involve adult literacy rates and levels of education completed. However, some studies look at current students and their abilities in different subjects.

One of the most-reviewed studies regarding education around the world involved 470,000 fifteen-year-old students. Each student was administered tests in math, science, and reading similar to the SAT or ACT exams (standardized tests used for college admissions in the U.S.) These exam scores were later compiled to determine each country's average score for each of the three subjects. Based on this study, China received the highest scores, followed by Korea, Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and the Netherlands.

On the down side, there are many nations whose educational systems are considered inadequate. This could be due to internal conflict, economic problems, or underfunded programs. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's Education for All Global Monitoring Report ranks the following countries as having the world's worst educational systems:

Countries with the Lowest-Ranked Educational Systems (and their estimated adult literacy rates)

Education Rankings by Country 2022

Country Rank (2021) Rank (2020) 2022 Population
United States11334,805,269
United Kingdom2268,497,907
Germany3483,883,596
Canada4338,388,419
France5565,584,518
Switzerland668,773,637
Japan711125,584,838
Australia8726,068,792
Sweden9810,218,971
Netherlands10917,211,447
New Zealand11144,898,203
Denmark12105,834,950
Norway13125,511,370
Italy141660,262,770
Finland15155,554,960
Austria16139,066,710
Spain171846,719,142
Belgium1811,668,278
South Korea192251,329,899
Ireland205,020,199
Singapore21195,943,546
China22241,448,471,400
Russia2321145,805,947
Israel24258,922,892
Portugal252010,140,570
Poland262337,739,785
United Arab Emirates272810,081,785
Greece282610,316,637
Hungary309,606,259
Turkey313185,561,976
India32341,406,631,776
South Africa333260,756,135
Argentina342946,010,234
Saudi Arabia354635,844,909
Brazil3630215,353,593
Mexico3736131,562,772
Malaysia383933,181,072
Egypt3942106,156,692
Ukraine403843,192,122
Qatar41372,979,915
Lithuania42452,661,708
Croatia43334,059,286
Estonia44471,321,910
Slovakia45445,460,193
Thailand464870,078,203
Romania474019,031,335
Chile483519,250,195
Bulgaria49436,844,597
Latvia50501,848,837
Colombia514951,512,762
Belarus52519,432,800
Slovenia53412,078,034
Indonesia5455279,134,505
Philippines5552112,508,994
Uruguay563,496,016
Morocco575737,772,756
Jordan585310,300,869
Vietnam596498,953,541
Panama60564,446,964
Costa Rica61545,182,354
Oman62625,323,993
Serbia63588,653,016
Peru645933,684,208
Azerbaijan656110,300,205
Sri Lanka666721,575,842
Tunisia676312,046,656
Kenya686856,215,221
Dominican Republic696011,056,370
Lebanon70696,684,849
Kazakhstan717019,205,043
Uzbekistan7234,382,084
Ecuador736518,113,361
El Salvador746,550,389
Cambodia7517,168,639
Myanmar767155,227,143
Iraq7742,164,965
Guatemala787318,584,039

Education Rankings by Country 2022

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