Outstanding Education Systems Around the World

What is classed as a good education system is incredibly subjective and open to interpretation. Methods and approaches are constantly evolving and countries across the world experiment with various approaches to learning.

There seems to be a core of countries which consistently appear in the top tables for exam results and though there is no definitive right and wrong answer for what is the ‘best’ education system there are certain countries in which schools continually get good results.

Some of the most successful education systems across the world are detailed below:


In Denmark education is very much based on student centred learning, open debates between students and teachers are a regular aspect of learning. There is a strong emphasis on students and teachers working and learning together rather than there being a hierarchy.

There is great emphasis on project work and problem based learning to help prepare students for adult life and provide them with a great foundation to be able to work both independently and as a team.


For several years now Finland has topped the charts for both maths and literacy.

A huge emphasis is placed on students social and mental well being, they are provided with hot meals, health and dental services. Counselling is readily on offer for both students and their families in all Finnish schools.

The curriculums are vigorous but this is balanced with psychological counselling unlike in many nations. There are also no banding systems, all students are taught together rather than being separated by ability. There is little homework and mandatory tests only at 16.

This system has resulted in there being the smallest gap between the weakest and strongest pupils in the world. Real proof that looking after your students pays off.

Shanghai, China

Shanghai is the first city in China to achieve 100% enrolment in both primary and secondary schools and also has almost universal secondary school attendance.

The largest shift in this education system is the move towards removing the divide between poor and wealthy students. The government has begun to remove the distance between public and private schools and encourages all children to be educated under one roof.

Those schools which served poorer children have either closed or merged with ‘better’ schools and teachers have been moved around to ensure an even split across schools.

In 2015 Shanghai was ranked the top in the world for literacy, science and maths -illustrating that wealthy schools do not always provide pupils with the best opportunities.


Gross National Happiness is a term which was first used by the King of Bhutan in 1979, indicating that happiness was more important to the Bhutanese as a nation rather than Gross National Product.

Schools in Bhutan place a great emphasis on mindfulness and are very aware of the social and mental well being of their young. Each class is begun with a few moments of silent meditation. This is believed to establish the mood for the class and relax pupils into their studies.

Public speaking is seen as being a key skill in Bhutan so pupils are encouraged to deliver speeches in both classrooms and assemblies from an early age. There is a basic skills training programme within secondary schools which is designed to make education relevant to the needs of the government and society, standing students in good stead for later adult life.

Whichever education system you work in, the use of visual explanations through dry-wipe boards, chalkboards and multi-media presentations will increase knowledge and help prepare pupils for their future careers.