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Is the British Education System Falling Behind in International Rankings?

Is the British Education System Falling Behind in International Rankings?

Is the British Education System Falling Behind in International Rankings?

A recent report from the OECD claims that the UK falls shortly behind in international rankings for quality education systems compared to China, Japan, Estonia, Singapore, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

According to Andreas Schleicher, Director of Education and Skills at the Office for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the UK is only an “average performer” compared with other student destination countries. Recent rankings show that British teenagers report the lowest scores for “life satisfaction,” showing how families in the country make considerable investments in education but fail to perform as expected.

Based on the OECD report, the most successful countries in terms of high-quality education systems have a broad range of curriculum and focus on concepts rather than routines. For instance,  Singapore boasts of a centrally controlled curriculum, and is considered to be well-developed as each course is aligned with an exam at the end of a quarter, semester or school year. This way, teachers exude authority among the students, unlike in British schools where students learn the routines. 

There are different approaches when it comes to learning each lesson for every education system across countries. In Estonia, there is a lot of creativity when it comes to learning. There is more importance placed on education, making these students excel in the end. Students in East Asia are expected to be prepared when in class as the teacher can call them on the spot and discuss or answer a question. Parents are directly informed of any problems, allowing students to take their studies seriously.

UK schools reward average performance. In Japan, however, students are regularly checked for their success in learning. Differences are inevitable, and learning from the other countries’ ways of knowledge can help fill the gaps to level up the rankings globally.

In 2019, the UK improved its school rankings, according to the PISA tests (taken by 15-year-old students) among 79 countries in the world, ranking 15th for Science and Reading and 18th for Math. 

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