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.

Top-ranked countries in terms of the education level
 
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on telegram

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.

RankCountryEducation Quality IndexEducation Opportunity Index
1UK78,269,79
2USA7268,74
3Australia70,567,52
4Netherlands70,367,21
5Sweden70,166,96
6France69,966,3
7Denmark69,862,54
8Canada69,861,01
9Germany69,560,64
10Switzerland68,360,12

Quality 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 governed 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.

£1,800
average monthly cost of a kindergarten in London

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.

£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

StageMain activities/subjectsSubjects studied
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
  • 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
  • EnglishMathematicsScienceHistoryGeographyModern foreign languagesDesign and technologyArt, painting and designMusicPhysical educationSocial sciencesComputational technology
Preparation for university:

16‑18 years old
For those planning to enter a universityNo 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 universityEnds 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.

Ranking of universities in the UK

Rank 🏆University
4University of Oxford
7University of Cambridge
8UCL (London's Global University)
9Imperial College London
The countries with the best education systems. University of Oxford in the UK
College at Oxford University

Quality 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.

$ 1,600
average monthly cost of a kindergarten in Los Angeles

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.

$ 60,000
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

StageMain activities/subjectsStudies
Kindergarten

5‑6 years
Preparing a child for school
  • WritingReadingCountingGroup/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
  • EnglishReadingArithmeticAlgebraLocal historyMusic DrawingPhysical 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
  • EnglishMathematicsNatural scienceSocial scienceHistoryPhysical educationForeign languagesArtComputing
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
Compulsory subjects
  • AlgebraGeometryIntroduction to analysisMathematical analysisLiteratureHistoryUS political systemPhysical education

Optional subjects

  • StatisticsInformaticsEcologyForeign languagesPaintingSculpturePhotographyCinemaComputer graphicsWeb designJournalismPublishingWoodworkCar 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.

Ranking of US universities

Rank🏆University
1Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
2Stanford University
3Harvard University
5California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
10University of Chicago
The countries with the best education systems. Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Source

Quality 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.

International ranking of universities in Australia

Rank🏆University
29The Australian National University
38The University of Melbourne
42The University of Sydney
43The University of New South Wales (UNSW
47The University of Queensland
The countries with the best education systems. Australian National University

Australian National University

Source

The countries with the best education systems. University of Melbourne

University of Melbourne

The countries with the best education systems. University of Sydney in Australia

University of Sydney

Quality 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.

Ranking of Swiss and EU universities

Name🏆University
6ETH Zurich ‑ Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
18EPFL, Lausanne Switzerland
50Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
53Université PSL, France
54Technical University of Munich
60École Polytechnique, Palaiseau France
The countries with the best education systems. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

The countries with the best education systems. Munich Technical University

Munich Technical University

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 IndexEducation Opportunity Index
  • System of public educationPreparation of students to study at universityNumber of research institutesFunding and university fundsSpecializationTies with industryEffectiveness of teachersInstitutional research productsInclusion of a university in world rankings
  • Literacy level of the adult populationGraduation ratesPercentage of primary school graduatesPercentage of high school graduates Percentage of college or technical school graduatesPercentage of institute or university graduatesState 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 programs

RankProgram, countryEducation Quality IndexEducation Opportunity Index
1UK residence permit78,269,79
10Swiss residence permit68,360,12
26Greek residence permit62,150,06
29Cyprus permanent residence60,749,66
34Portuguese residence permit59,147,77
40Austrian residence permit57,346,25
43Italian residence permit56,946,13
53Turkish citizenship53,444,6
60Maltese permanent residence51,343,71
60Maltese citizenship51,343,71
73Montenegro citizenship43,442,66
80Grenada citizenship3641,32

A UK residence permit can be obtained by investing 2 million pounds sterling. The investor receives a special investor visa, which allows them to live and conduct business in the country. The visa takes about three months to issue.

A Swiss 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 Greek 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.

Greek residence permit by investment: apartments with a swimming pool in a new residential complex in Chalandri

An example of an investment property in Greece: apartments with a swimming pool in a new residential complex in Chalandri. Area 76 m², cost 265,000

Greek residence permit by investment: apartments with a swimming pool in a new residential complex in Chalandri

An example of an investment property in Greece: apartments with a swimming pool in a new residential complex in Chalandri. Area 76 m², cost 265,000

Greek residence permit by investment: apartments with a swimming pool in a new residential complex in Chalandri

An example of an investment property in Greece: apartments with a swimming pool in a new residential complex in Chalandri. Area 76 m², cost 265,000

Greek residence permit by investment: apartments with a swimming pool in a new residential complex in Chalandri

An example of an investment property in Greece: apartments with a swimming pool in a new residential complex in Chalandri. Area 76 m², cost 265,000

Greek residence permit by investment: apartments with a swimming pool in a new residential complex in Chalandri

An example of an investment property in Greece: apartments with a swimming pool in a new residential complex in Chalandri. Area 76 m², cost 265,000

Permanent residence in Cyprus 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.

A residence permit in Portugal 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.

Portuguese citizenship by investment: premium-class apartment with a swimming pool on the Portuguese coast in Estoril

An example of an investment property in Portugal: premium‑class apartment with a swimming pool on the Portuguese coast in Estoril. Area 189 m², cost € 1,350,000

Portuguese citizenship by investment: premium-class apartment with a swimming pool on the Portuguese coast in Estoril

An example of an investment property in Portugal: premium‑class apartment with a swimming pool on the Portuguese coast in Estoril. Area 189 m², cost € 1,350,000

Portuguese citizenship by investment: premium-class apartment with a swimming pool on the Portuguese coast in Estoril

An example of an investment property in Portugal: premium‑class apartment with a swimming pool on the Portuguese coast in Estoril. Area 189 m², cost € 1,350,000

Portuguese citizenship by investment: premium-class apartment with a swimming pool on the Portuguese coast in Estoril

An example of an investment property in Portugal: premium‑class apartment with a swimming pool on the Portuguese coast in Estoril. Area 189 m², cost € 1,350,000

Portuguese citizenship by investment: premium-class apartment with a swimming pool on the Portuguese coast in Estoril

An example of an investment property in Portugal: premium‑class apartment with a swimming pool on the Portuguese coast in Estoril. Area 189 m², cost € 1,350,000

The Austrian 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 Italian 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.

Turkish citizenship can be obtained by purchasing real estate for $ 250,000 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.

Permanent residence in Malta 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.

Maltese 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.

Montenegrin citizenship can be granted for an investment of € 350,000. 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, 2021. 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.

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.

Receive new articles in a weekly digest

Receive expert materials from our team once a week

Thanks for subscribing!

It remains only to confirm the email