Which country provides the best education system and produces the brainiest individuals?

This blog looks at different categories to measure the success of education.

The four categories investigated here include:

1. The Nobel Prize winners ranked per capita
2. The top 200 ranked universities (by Times Higher Education rank) sorted by the number of universities per country and then per capita
3. The mean number of years in schooling (from International Human Development UN) ranked by country
4. The amount of Government education expenditure based on a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) percentage (from International Human Development UN).

Only the top 20 countries are listed in each of the categories.

All Nobel Prizes per Capita

University Top 200 Ranked by per Capita

Mean Years of Schooling Rank

Spending on Education (percentage of GDP)

The data shown here, sourced from the International Human Development (United Nations), provides an interesting list of top 20 leaders. The top country with the highest percentage of GDP is East Timor, which has a literacy rate of approximately 58.3 per cent. Therefore these figures must be interpreted with caution. Despite this, Cuba, a country known for its superior education, comes in a number two and ranks highly in literacy (approximately 80 per cent).

Best-Educated Country

The top 20 best-educated countries, according to all four categories, are summarised above. The top three countries are Sweden, Denmark and Israel. Australia is ranked at number 16 in the list, well below our neighbour New Zealand (ranked 4). There are no real surprises here. Australia can definitely improve its education levels and rankings compared to other countries and the looming federal elections provide a great opportunity for improvement in this area.

Education improves a country’s competitive advantage in the global economy and plays an important part in reducing poverty, increasing GDP, improving health systems and, in general, increasing social capital.


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