Harvard campus

The World Economic Forum, a nonprofit foundation, has ranked the most educated countries in the world as part of its annual Global Competitiveness Report.

The WEF created the index using a variety of objective and subjective measures.

Each country’s score, from 1 to 7, is based on factors including secondary education enrollment rate and tertiary education enrollment rate — which means the number of people who studied either at university or an equivalent, such as a nursing college.

The score is also based on answers provided by business leaders from each country, to five questions including the following:

In your country, how well does the education system meet the needs of a competitive economy?


In your country, to what extent do companies invest in training and employee development?

The lowest possible score is 1, and the highest is 7.

European countries dominate the list, even though it is a non-European country that tops it.

In particular, Scandivian countries feature heavily, partly because public expenditure in the region is generally very high.

Here is a look at the full list.

11. Iceland

Score: 5.9

(1 is the lowest educational standard, 7 is the highest)

The tiny Nordic country of Iceland has a population of 330,000. Although it ranks highly in the global index, it spends the least on educational spending of the Nordic countries.

10. New Zealand

Score: 5.9

New Zealand constantly ranks among the top education systems in the world. The country’s education department is innovative: in September, the government outlined plans to introduce online education courses, whereby students are not required to attend school on certain days of the week.

9. Australia

Score: 5.9

Australia is a well-educated country, and has a particularly high proportion of tertiary-educated adults. 43% of adults have trained at an institution after leaving school — that’s behind only Canada, Japan, Israel, Korea, the US, and the UK.


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