The best school system in the various countries is a frequent international preocupation. None of the Latin American countries, their schools or education, appear in the top 20 countries listed in the global ranking discussed in an article on the BBC website on 27 November 2012 by Sean Coughlan, the news education correspondent. While the British come 6th, the system developed by a firm called Pearson placed Finland and South Korea at the top. The others are a mix of Eastern and Western European, English Language and Asiatic countries. Although obviously linked to the wealth of the nations, education is also linked to other factors, some of them not so obvious, to the extent that the ranking of schools and education ends up with this rather surprising finale.

Coughlan goes on:

“The rankings combine international test results and data such as graduation rates between 2006 and 2010.Sir Michael Barber, Pearson’s chief education adviser, says successful countries give teachers a high status and have a “culture” of education.

The best school system in international comparisons in education have become increasingly significant – and this latest league table is based upon a series of global test results combined with measures of education systems, such as how many people go on to university.This composite picture puts the UK in a stronger position than the influential Pisa tests from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – which is also one of the tests included in this ranking.The weightings for the rankings have been produced for Pearson by the Economist Intelligence Unit.”

After Finland and South Korea, the list of the best school system goes on with Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, the UK, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, Denmark, Australia, Poland, Germany, Belgium, USA, Hungary, Slovakia, and surprisingly closes with Russia. Most people will be really baffled, and some quite angry not to see the French, Italian or Spanish in the list, or the Swedes and Norwegian, Australians and Austrians. Anyway, that is the list.

Dr Paulo Bittencourt

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