The UK’s education system has been adjudged the sixth best in the world, and the second best in Europe, owing to its strong science teaching and its high literacy, school completion and university graduation rates, as revealed by education firm Pearson’s survey of top 20 countries offering best education system in the world.
Finland tops the list, followed by South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. The UK, which is considered as a single system, rather than four devolved administrations, comes sixth at the head of an above-average group including the Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada and Ireland. The middle-ranking group includes United States, Germany and France. The lowest end includes Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia.
The results are based on Pearson’s Pisa tests that are conducted in every two to three years time interval. The tests constitute maths, science and literacy fields. The purpose of this exercise is to provide a more multi-dimensional view of educational achievement and create a data bank which will be updated, in a project that Pearson is calling the Learning Curve.
Britain does better, in part, because the new measure includes science education: one area of undisputed strength for the UK. The Learning Curve shows it in ninth place on science knowledge among 15-year-olds. On high school and university graduation and adult literacy rates, Britain is in second place in Europe. Based on tests of primary school-aged children alone, Britain comes eighth in Europe. Ranked solely on the results of tests taken at the age of 15, Britain would come in at 13th.
The findings imply that more focus needs to be on developing a conducive learning environment and not just on spending.