Best Education System in the World: Top 5 Countries for Study
Fifty years from now, the whole world will be governed by the youth of their countries. Their knowledge and thoughts will decide the future path of the world. All these decisions will depend on what they have learned now, what they have experienced, and what education system they have attended.
In this article, we will find out which countries have the best education system in the world. We will analyze the education system of different countries based on various factors like the rankings given by reputed ranking institutions like QS Ranking and Times Higher Education. We will also assess their higher education system on factors like research opportunities offered by their institutions and the number of Noble Prize Winners given by any country. Apart from this, we will also consider how much money is allocated for the education of the country. Here, we will analyze the share of the country's GDP spend on education.
1. United States
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The education system of the US is one of the best in the world. According to the QS World University Rankings 2023, 36 USA universities come within the top 150 ranks. Nearly 948,000 international students were studying in the US in 2021/22. 77% of these have come from Asia. As per the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors report, the most popular courses are Business and Management, Computer Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. Apart from this, the most popular study destinations for students are New York, Texas, and California.
The main highlight of the US universities is their focus on research-oriented learning. In the American education system, researchers are always at the forefront and always look out to develop something new. Innovation and creativity always remain at the core of their educational philosophy. In the US, regular testing/homework and classroom participation is mandatory for getting a good result. Students are encouraged to discuss the issues and focus on providing ideas.
The number of Nobel laureates associated with the University of Chicago validates the university’s focus on producing ideas that make an impact in the world. Till date, 97 Noble Laureates are associated only with the University of Chicago, and 90 of them are listed as ‘UChicago's Nobel Laureates’. The researchers, faculty members, students, and other graduates of the university were awarded Nobel Prize and Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Apart from this, currently, there are 18 US cities that are listed in the ‘QS Best Student Cities 2023’ index. Each comprises established universities and distinct cultures and lifestyles. 90 US universities have made it to the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022. In 2018, the US spent approximately $14,400 per student, on elementary and secondary education, which is 35% more than the country average of OECD countries.
2. United Kingdom
The education system of the UK has an excellent record of accomplishment in terms of academic success and international rankings. The UK is the world’s second-leading study destination hosting more than 442,000 international students. Currently, 4 UK institutions are ranked amongst the top 10 global institutions. In addition, 90 UK universities feature in the ‘QS World University Rankings 2023’. This signifies the global reputation and popularity of UK universities.
Even after its referendum on EU membership (2016), the British education system has not lost its appeal among international students. Moreover, 17 UK universities feature in the top 100, and another 9 make it to the top global 200. Even after experiencing its worst-ever decline in QS rankings since 2016, the UK has not lost its charm as a top study-abroad destination amongst students globally. For the year ending 2020, the UK spent 5.53% of its GDP on education.
More than 30 prominent world leaders, 26 Nobel Prize winners, 120 Olympic medallists, and 26 British Prime Ministers were educated at the University of Oxford. Noted Indian leaders like Indira Gandhi studied at Oxford and Mahatma Gandhi was amongst the most famous alumni of the University College London. Also, B.R. Ambedkar, the main architect of the Indian constitution worked on his doctoral thesis at the LSE.
As 54 UK universities find their place in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022, it is proven that UK universities produce the most employable graduates worldwide.
Canada is known for its natural beauty and cultural diversity. Moreover, 30 Canadian universities appeared in the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2023 and 31 in the QS World University Rankings 2023. Out of these, 3 are included in the global top 50. Additionally, 11 more universities are included in the world’s top 300. The most popular study destinations for international students are Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec.
There are different types of education providers in Canada:
- Universities: They focus on research and provide both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
- Community colleges and technical applied arts or applied science schools: They offer diplomas, certificates, bachelor’s degrees, and associate’s degrees.
The easy application process, affordable study options, and great post-study opportunities make it the preferred destination for international students. It is preferred by those who are looking for alternatives after strict US immigration laws. According to an International Student Survey conducted by the Canadian Bureau for International Education, 95 percent of students recommend Canada as a study destination and 90 percent of students were satisfied with their studies. In 2014, Canada spent 5.9% of its GDP on education, higher than the average of OECD countries.
Canadian universities are acknowledged for their impactful research work and for producing some of the greatest academicians. The University of Toronto has produced 10 Nobel laureates and 5 Canadian Prime Ministers. Additionally, 7 Noble Prize winners and 65 Olympic medalists are associated with the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Germany is considered the top study destination for non-English speakers in the world. In addition, it is considered the third most popular study destination after the US and the UK. Almost every major city in Germany is home to at least one world-class university. 14 German universities make it to the world’s top 250 and 29 in the top 500 (according to the QS World University Rankings 2023). This is enough to place Germany among the world’s best education providers.
Low tuition fees, excellent post-graduate job opportunities, different scholarship schemes, and high-quality life are some of the factors which make it a favorite amongst higher education aspirants. Also, home to some of the world’s oldest universities, Germany is considered the hub of innovation and world-class discoveries. On average, Germany spends 5% of its GDP on education.
LMU Munich established in 1472 has produced 34 Nobel laureates and renowned scientists. Further, 13 Nobel Prizes have been awarded in the areas of Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine to the academics related to the Technical University of Munich. In addition to this, the oldest university in Germany, Heidelberg University offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees across 100 different subjects. The student body of the university represents 130 countries of the world. Apart from producing 56 Nobel laureates, the university has produced influential philosophers, politicians, and scientists.
One more in the list includes the Humboldt University of Berlin which has given the most influential figures in the country like Albert Einstein and Walter Benjamin. The university has also produced an impressive 40 Noble prize winners, a majority in Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine. The university library comprises 6.5 million books and thousands of magazines and journals. Apart from this, RWTH Aachen University has also produced 5 Nobel laureates who were awarded for their extensive work in Physics or Chemistry.
Home to just 24 million people, Australia is one of the most popular study destinations for international students. Australia’s excellent higher education system was ranked third in the ‘QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings 2018’. Australia’s Group of Eight (like the US Ivy League) features in the global top 100 and 38 universities appear in the top universities rankings globally (as per the QS World University Rankings 2023). Apart from this, the highest number of institutions in Australia appears in the ‘QS Top 50 under 50’, which includes the world’s leading young universities. In addition, the top 36 Australian universities feature in the ‘Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2023’. On average, Australia spends more than 5% of its GDP on education.
After the UK and the US, Australia is home to the third-highest number of international students. Further, six Nobel Prize winners were among the faculty and alumni of the Australian National University. Currently, it is run by a Nobel laureate, Brian Schmidt, who won the prestigious prize in 2011 in Physics. The top 5 Australian universities have produced Nobel laureates, scholars, and famous world leaders whose work has impacted the world. 5 Australian Prime Ministers attended the oldest university in Australia (since 1851), The University of Sydney. The Booker Prize-winning novelist Peter Carey attended the research powerhouse, Monash University. The University has research and training centers in different parts of the world. Noted Royal Society fellows David Boger, David Solomon, and Nobel prizewinner Peter Doherty (Physiology and Medicine) used to teach or research at the University of Melbourne.
Apart from the above mentioned countries, a few European countries have also developed a well-balanced higher education system. In fact, several countries have developed a niche for certain kinds of courses (fields) like Germany and the Netherlands holds prominence in Automobiles. Also, France is known for business-related courses and Finland for Artificial Intelligence. Ireland dominates when it comes to courses related to Computer Science. Even all the major tech giants have their corporate offices in Ireland. Although it can be argued that this is because of their tax structure which benefits corporates. However, the presence of these companies has a huge impact on their higher education system. Apart from this, countries like Sweden, Denmark, and Switzerland have also developed an excellent higher education system.
Not only the European countries but also the Korean education system and Israeli education system is known as one of the best in the world in the field of Science and Technology. South Korea is also considered to have one of the toughest education systems in the world. Other countries with the hardest education system in the world are Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Finland.
Can I Study Abroad for Free?
Now that we have covered the best education systems in the world, we must know how to minimize the cost of studying abroad. Students often ask about the countries where education is free. Theoretically speaking, there are a few options where there is no tuition fee involved. However, there are certain conditions associated with this. The following points will help you know about the countries where education is free and how to minimize the cost of studying abroad:
- Certain public universities in Germany do not charge any tuition fees. However, there are nominal semester charges from €50 to €250.
- Universities in Norway also do not charge any tuition fees. There is a nominal semester fee of NOK 300 to NOK 600. However, from 2023 onwards, universities in Norway will be charging tuition fees from international students.
- Scholarships are a great way to reduce the cost of studying abroad. Some scholarships finance your tuition fee, some finance your cost of living, and some finance both. You might receive full or partial scholarships. However, earning a scholarship is not an easy task and you will have to face tough competition.
- Other options include Assistantships (for Master’s and PhD students), part-time work, paid internships, etc.