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Every year, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development publishes a ranking of the countries with the best education systems. Although Finland has claimed the spot for the past several years, the top five spots for the 2015 rankings were Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. The OECD bases its rankings on science literacy, mathematics, and reading, condensed into one PISA score. Generally speaking, these countries share a culture that values performing well in school as well as an environment that supports teachers. In Singapore, for instance, teachers receive competitive salaries and bonuses for good performance.
The OECD's findings also note that countries at the bottom of the rankings tend to have a poor economic outlook as well. The group makes the point that academic success is closely tied to economic prosperity. That said, even countries like the U.S. and the UK were relatively low in the rankings, largely due to the emphasis on standardized testing. Research has shown that putting too much stress on such exams can hurt both students and teachers alike.
Universal Basic Skills: What Countries Stand to Gain (keepeek.com)
"Everywhere, skills transform lives, generate prosperity and promote social inclusion."
Global school rankings: Interactive map shows standards of education across the world (independent.co.uk)
"One in five British students leave school without acquiring basic skills, according to a new report commissioned by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)."
Asia tops biggest global school rankings (bbc.com)
"The biggest ever global school rankings have been published, with Asian countries in the top five places and African countries at the bottom."
Education post-2015 (oecdeducationtoday.blogspot.co.uk)
"Next week, UNESCO will convene the world's educational leaders in Incheon to set the agenda for educational development over the next 15 years."