September 8, 2021
Reading Time: 13 min

The best countries in terms of education

The ranking of the world’s best countries in terms of education, based on the quality and opportunities offered by the educational curriculum, is evaluated annually. Over the past five years, the top‑10 list has consistently included the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and several European countries.

We discuss which countries are ranked in the top‑10 and why. We list the best universities in the world, where students are offered internships in leading international companies, acquire valuable contacts and build international careers.

Alevtina Kalmuk
Alevtina Kalmuk

Listed the best countries for studying

Top-ranked countries in terms of the education level

The best countries in terms of education

Top‑10 countries in terms of education

CEOWORLD magazine’s ranking of the best countries for education compares the quality of pre-school, school and higher education, as well as the opportunities provided by education for an international career.

The best schools and universities develop students' abilities and help them master their chosen profession.

The diplomas issued by universities in the countries with the highest rankings are recognized in more than 90 countries. This means that their graduates can select the country in which they want to work and live.

At the end of the article we explain how the ranking was compiled.

Rank and Country

Education Quality Index

Education Opportunity Index

1. UK



2. USA



3. Australia



4. Netherlands



5. Sweden



6. France



7. Denmark



8. Canada



9. Germany



10. Switzerland



gb-flagQuality of education in the UK

The main aims of the education system in the UK are to teach children to think independently and creatively, to develop communication skills and to prepare them for an international career. The education system is gove ed by the state’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and The National Curriculum.

Pre-school education is optional. Kindergartens accept children aged two to five years old. Children are taught to read, write and count. Lessons last about 30 minutes and are set up in the form of play groups. The focus is on the physical development, creativity, self-expression and behavior of the child.

ЕA child can spend 15 to 30 hours a week in kindergarten free of charge. However, parents pay extra if they leave the child at the kindergarten for longer. British kindergartens are considered the most expensive in Europe. For example, sending a child to kindergarten in London from 8 am to 6 pm costs on average £1,800 per month.

Schools in the UK are divided by the age of the child: primary school and secondary school. State schools are free. (Please note that in this article we refer only to state schools as public schools, although in Britain, the most famous private schools such as Eton, Harrow and Marlborough, are also referred to as public schools.) Private schools have high academic standards, highly qualified teaching staff and well-equipped facilities. For example, a class in a public school can have up to 30 students, whereas a class in a private school is often made up of 8 to 10 students, which means each student receives more attention. The cost of annual tuition in a private school is at least £25,000.


Annual fee at a private school in Britain

In private schools, students can choose the International Baccalaureate (IB) program to prepare for university. According to the program, students select six subjects to study and they must pass exams in their selected subjects.

UK education system

Primary school
5‑11 years old

Primarily sports and arts.

Compulsory subjects are introduced gradually. Their number and complexity increases with the age of the child.

Subjects studied: English, Mathematics, History, Geography, Music, Art, painting, design, Physical exercise, swimming, Foundations of Science, Computer Basics, Foreign Languages.

Secondary school
11‑16 years

Children study the scientific disciplines, humanities, and foreign languages more deeply.

To graduate, children take the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) exam.

A certificate of secondary education is compulsory for British citizens.

Subjects studied: English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Modern foreign languages, Design and technology, Art, painting and design, Music, Physical education, Social sciences, Computational technology.

Preparation for university
16‑18 years old

For those planning to enter a university.

No compulsory subjects. The student chooses 3‑4 subjects and prepares to select their specialization topic. The program ends with an A-level exam.

Education in professional colleges
16‑18 years old

For those who want to start working without going to university.

Ends with a certificate of secondary specialized education GNVQ or diploma of secondary technical education BTEC.

Higher education in the UK is obtained at universities, polytechnic institutes and colleges of higher education.

Polytechnic institutes and colleges of higher education produce specialists for a specific profession with a bachelor’s degree. There are three higher education degrees available at the universities: bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Four UK universities are ranked in the top‑10 in the world in the QS World University Rankings.

The countries with the best education systems. University of Oxford in the UK

College at Oxford University

us-flagQuality of education in the United States

The education system in the United States aims to foster self-discipline, analytical skills, independent thinking and free will.

Preschool education. Kindergartens accept babies aged five months to five years old. Large organizations have corporate kindergartens for their employees. Some kindergartens are open around the clock.

There is no compulsory education program in American kindergartens. Children are taught the basics of reading, writing and counting. Most of the time, children draw, sculpt, dance, sing and participate in theatrical performances.

The cost of a kindergarten in the United States depends on the state, the time a child spends in the kindergarten and the terms agreed. For example, sending a child to a kindergarten in Los Angeles from 7 am to 6 pm costs an average of $1,600 per month.

Schools in the United States are divided into elementary, junior high and senior high schools, depending on the age of the child. Public schools are free for children who are US residents. More than 90% of American children go to public schools.


Average annual cost of a private school in the US

Private schools often specialize in a specific area. For example, in technical or natural science or art. Private schools accept children aged at least 10 years old. Tuition at a private school in the United States costs on average $60,000 per annum.

Education levels at schools in the US

5‑6 years

Preparing a child for school.

Studies: Writing, Reading, Counting, Group and social interaction.

Elementary school
6‑11 years

Apart from music, drawing and physical education, all subjects are taught by one teacher per class.

A great deal of attention is paid to develop the behavior and social skills of children. Starting from the third grade, children are given texts to study.

Studies: English, Reading, Arithmetic, Algebra, Local history, Music, Drawing, Physical exercise.

Junior high school
11‑14 years

The main focus is on compulsory subjects.

The complexity of studies increases, together with the volume of self-study material given to students.

Based on the results of tests, the teachers determine the child’s strengths and inclinations and adjust their approach accordingly.

Studies: English, Mathematics, Natural science, Social science, History, Physical education, Foreign languages, Art, Computing.

Senior high school
14‑18 years

There are some compulsory subjects. For each subject, the study period is set in years.

Many subjects are optional and studied by choice. If a student has decided on their future university application, they will know which exams they need to take for admission.

Students take tests for admission to universities (SAT) or colleges (ACT) in mathematics, English, logic and critical thinking.

After passing the final school exams, students are issued a High School Graduation Diploma.

Studies (Compulsory subjects): Algebra, Geometry, Introduction to analysis, Mathematical analysis, Literature, History, US political system, Physical education.

Studies (Optional subjects): Statistics, Informatics, Ecology, Foreign languages, Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Cinema, Computer graphics, Web design, Journalism, Publishing, Woodwork, Car repair.

Preparation for university entrance (Advanced Placement)
Starting from the 9th grade

For those who plan to enroll in a university and want to study subjects in greater depth.

High marks in exams improve the chances of a student being admitted to their chosen university in the USA, Canada, Britain and Europe.

The subjects depend on the chosen specialization at university in which the student is interested.

Higher education in the USA is offered by colleges and universities. At colleges applied specialties are taught for a bachelor’s degree. Most colleges in the United States are private and are often part of a university.

Universities offer three degrees: Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctorate. A great deal of scientific research is carried out in the course of studies at a university. Public universities in the United States are cheaper for students resident in the same state. For students from other states and countries, the tuition fees are higher.

Five US universities are ranked in the top‑10 in the world in the QS World University Rankings.

The countries with the best education systems. Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


au-flagQuality of education in Australia

Education in Australia is regulated and funded by each of the six states and two territories on the mainland, as well as by the local governments on the islands. Although there are some differences among these systems, they are all subject to general Australian standards.

Australia’s educational standards are based on the structure and principles of the British system. The goal of their education system is to fully reveal the creative, intellectual and personal potential of the student.

The academic year in Australia is different from the standard international academic year: at schools the academic year starts at the end of January and ends in mid-December. The academic year at universities starts in late February and ends in September.

Preschool education is optional. Most kindergartens are private. In some Australian states, kindergartens are part of primary school.

1,600 AUD

Average monthly cost of a kindergarten in Melbourne

Children aged four to six years old can be enrolled at kindergartens in Australia. Kindergartens do not have a strict timetable for classes other than the time set for meals. Children can play in the playground, go to sleep, play with toys and draw at any time. Toys, paints, and plasticine are always freely available.

Children are taught to express themselves freely, communicate in a friendly way and take care of the environment.

The cost of the kindergarten depends on the place of residence. For example, enrolling a child in a kindergarten in Sydney between 8 am and 6 pm costs on average 2,400 AUD per month.

Schools in Australia are divided into primary schools and secondary schools. Children from remote regions are homeschooled. About 65% of the children in Australia study in public schools and 35% in private schools. The annual cost at a private school is at least 26,000 AUD.

26,000 AUD

Average annual cost of a private school in Australia

Education from the first to the tenth grade is compulsory. After the tenth grade, students can continue their studies at a VTE (Vocational and Technical Education) school. Students who plan to apply to universities continue their studies at a deeper level in the eleventh and twelfth grades at High School.

The students who pass their exams in the twelfth grade are issued a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. There are no entrance exams at Australian universities: admission depends on the marks obtained in the certificate.

Higher education in Australia is offered at universities or TAFE (Technical and Further Education) institutions.

At TAFE institutes and colleges, students receive bachelor’s degrees in applied specialties. Although some TAFE institutes and colleges also offer graduate and doctoral programs.

International students are attracted to universities in Australia especially due to their well-known and high quality degrees in business, finance, medicine, marine biology and information technology.

Five Australian universities are ranked in the top‑50 in the world in the QS World University Rankings.

ch-flagQuality of education in the EU and Switzerland

The European education system is based on the general standards of the Bologna Process, with some differences in each country.

The education system in Switzerland and the European Union is highly valued in the world: the curricula of these countries are among the best in the world. From a very young age, children are taught and encouraged to think independently and creatively, as well as being taught leadership skills.

Most European countries teach in their official language, but many kindergartens, schools and universities also offer programs in English. They are more expensive.

Preschool education in the EU and Switzerland is optional. Most kindergartens are private and accept children who are 5‑6 years old. Each European country regulates preschool education in its own way.

Schools are divided into primary and secondary schools. Secondary education up to 16 years of age is compulsory. After the tenth grade, students choose whether to continue their studies to prepare for university or get a professional education in order to start their career faster.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is the most popular university preparation program in the EU and Switzerland. The IB certificate gives the holder the opportunity to enroll in any university in the world.

Students study six subjects for the IB certificate. There are four compulsory subjects: the language spoken in the country, a foreign language, mathematics and natural science. The remaining two subjects are chosen by the student, taking into account their future specialization at the university or interest in the subject.

The higher education system in the EU, Switzerland and Britain differs from the system adopted in the USA and Australia in terms of the length of study at each stage.

For example, in Europe, the standard bachelor’s degree takes three to four years to complete, and the master’s program takes one year. In the USA and Australia, these programs last longer: the bachelor’s degree normally takes four years and the master’s degree takes two years.

The educational programs of universities in the European Union and Switzerland are similar; and therefore, when moving from one European country to another, European degrees are mutually recognized generally and by employers.

In some countries, residents and citizens can receive education free of charge. For example, in Portugal, the child of a holder of a residence permit by investment can enroll in a public university free of charge.

Higher education in Europe increases the chances of students being offered internships in leading global companies, gaining valuable contacts and building an international career.

Six European universities are included in the top‑60 in the world in the QS World University Rankings.

The countries with the best education systems. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

How CEOWORLD compiles its ranking

CEOWORLD Magazine is an online portal for business audiences, which is read by about 12 million people monthly.

The magazine collects the information on which their ranking is based from open sources: the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Education Index, as well as CEOWORLD Magazine’s own research.

Their global study involved 196,300 people. University students, international business and industry leaders, professors, academics and school teachers answered the questions posed by CEOWORLD.

The magazine analyzed and compared countries in terms of two categories: quality and educational opportunities in 2020. For this, the researchers looked at 16 indicators that fell into one of the two categories. Each indicator was rated on a scale from one to one hundred.

The final assessment of a country’s education system and its ranking is made up from the average score of all indicators.

What was analyzed for ranking countries with the best education systems

Education Quality Index

  • System of public education

  • Preparation of students to study at university

  • Number of research institutes

  • Funding and university funds

  • Specialization

  • Ties with industry

  • Effectiveness of teachers

  • Institutional research products

  • Inclusion of a university in world rankings

Education Opportunity Index

  • Literacy level of the adult population

  • Graduation rates

  • Percentage of primary school graduates

  • Percentage of high school graduates

  • Percentage of college or technical school graduates

  • Percentage of institute or university graduates

  • State spending on education (% of GDP)

How to get a resident permit by investment in countries with the best education systems

Eleven of the countries whose education systems are ranked among the best in the world by CEOWORLD offer residence permits or citizenship by investment.

It is easier for children with a residence permit or second citizenship to enter foreign universities, as they do not need to apply for a visa and may also be eligible for local student benefits. Furthermore, after graduation, they will have greater freedom and more time to look for work than other foreign students, whose visas expire at the same time or shortly after graduation.

Ranking according to the level of education in countries with residence or citizenship by investment 

Program, country and rank

Education Quality Index

Education Opportunity Index

10. Switzerland residence permit




26. Greece residence permit




29. Cyprus permanent residence







40. Austria residence permit




43. Italy residence permit




53. Turkey citizenship




60. Malta permanent residence




60. Malta citizenship




73. Montenegro citizenship




80. Grenada citizenship



A Switzerland residence permit for financially independent persons is issued without the right to work in the country. The investor enters into an agreement with the cantonal administration and pays a lump-sum tax of 450,000 ₣. The residence permit takes about six months to prepare.

A Greece residence permit is granted in exchange for the purchase of real estate or shares in local companies and opening a deposit account in a Greek bank. The minimum investment is €250,000. The residence permit takes about three months to process.

Cyprus permanent residence by investing €300,000. The investor can choose from three options: buying real estate, shares in local companies or shares in investment funds. It takes about two months to issue a permanent residence card.

Portugal residence permit by investing €250,000. The program offers eight options, including buying real estate or securities, making a deposit at a local bank, or investing in a business, scientific activity or the country’s cultural heritage. It takes two months to issue the residence permit.

An Austria residence permit for financially independent persons is issued on a quota system. The applicant confirms that they and their family have sufficient funds to live in the country. It takes at least three months to process. We discuss this residence permit and how to qualify for the quota in 2022.

An Italy residence permit can be obtained by investing €250,000 in innovative start-ups. Prospective applicants can also choose from the following alternative investments:

  • €500,000 in the authorized capital of an Italian company;

  • €1,000,000 in socially significant projects;

  • €2,000,000 in government bonds.

Turkey citizenship can be obtained by purchasing real estate for $400,000 or making a deposit of $500,000 at a local bank, purchasing securities for $500,000, or starting a business for $500,000. It takes three months to issue a passport.

Malta permanent residence can be obtained by the investor fulfilling the following conditions:

  1. Buying or renting property on the island.

  2. Paying government and administration fees.

  3. Making a charitable contribution to a Maltese non-governmental organization.

  4. Confirming ownership of assets of €500,000.

The minimum investment is €112,000. The processing time is about six months.

Malta citizenship for special merit can only be obtained by naturalization based on a direct investment of €690,000. The investor first applies for a residence permit and after 1‑3 years applies for citizenship.

Montenegro citizenship can be granted for an investment of €450,000. The investor makes a non-refundable contribution to the government fund and invests in equity in the country’s development projects. It takes four months to issue a passport.

An application for Montenegrin citizenship can be submitted only until December 31, 2022. In the following link, we explain why the country’s government decided not to extend the program.

Grenada citizenship can be obtained by investing $150,000 in a state fund or buying real estate for $220,000. It takes 3 to 6 months to process the passport.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Ultimate comparison of Golden Visa programs

Practical Guide

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Frequently asked questions

  • Which countries have the best education systems?

    The education systems in the UK, the USA, Australia, Canada and some European countries are ranked among the top‑10 in the world.

  • How is education in schools organized in the United States?

    Schools in the United States are divided into elementary, junior high and senior high schools, depending on the age of the child. At the preparatory stage (where enrollment is not voluntary), children aged five to six years old are prepared for school at kindergartens: they are taught to read, write and read. In primary school, most of the lessons are taught by one teacher. The main attention is paid to social skills, behavior, physical exercise and creativity. In junior high school, children study the compulsory subjects at a deeper level and are assigned a significant amount of homework. In senior high school, students choose the subjects in which they will take tests for admission to a university. Public schools are free for children who are resident in the US. More than 90% of American children go to public schools.

  • How much does one year of schooling in the UK cost?

    Public schools in the UK are free. The cost of annual tuition in a private school is at least £25,000. Private schools have high academic standards, highly qualified teachers, and well-equipped and more comfortable facilities. For example, a class in a state school can have up to 30 students, whereas a class in a private school has just 8 to 10 students, which results in each student receiving more attention.

  • Among the countries with the best education systems, which country’s educational system is most affordable?

    Australia’s education system ranks third in the international rankings. At the same time, the cost of studying at a university is 30‑40% lower than in the USA or Britain. International students choose universities in Australia especially for their degrees in business, finance, medicine, marine biology and information technology.

  • What is the difference between the higher education system in the United States, Britain and Australia compared to the higher education system in Europe?

    The higher education system in the EU, Switzerland and the UK differs from the system adopted in the USA and Australia in terms of the length of studies at each stage. In Europe, the standard bachelor’s degree takes three to four years, and the master’s program takes one year to complete. In contrast in the USA and Australia, these programs last longer: a bachelor’s degree takes four years and a master’s degree, two years.