Korea ranks second on global education index
By Yun Suh-young
But, the country remains notorious for the amount spent on higher education, a fact that weighs heavily on parents.
The Learning Curve is a new global study published by Pearson and carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) that helps identify the key factors which drive improved educational outcomes. The report includes the new Global Index of Cognitive Skills and Educational Attainment as well as data on literacy and school and university graduation rates between 2006 and 2010.
Finland topped the list with the best education system followed by Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.
The United Kingdom ranked sixth on the list followed by the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada. The United States, Germany and France were in the middle-ranking group and the emerging economies of Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia were placed lowest on the index.
The study was based on educational input such as governmental spending on education, teacher’s salaries and degree of school choice, and education outcomes such as graduation rates from schools and universities.
On the educational attainment category based on literacy and graduation rates, Korea topped the list followed by the UK, Finland, Poland and Ireland, the report showed.
The report said the high ranking countries had “high-quality teachers, value accountability and a moral mission that underlies education efforts.” It concluded that a culture supportive of learning was important in successful education systems as well as spending.
In fact, Korea’s spending on education is embarrassingly high among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries.
On the OECD’s 2012 index published in September this year, the public education spending in Korea per student ranked second out of the 34 member countries and eight non-member countries surveyed. Out of Korea’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 8 percent was spent on education.
The education spending for higher education has increased by 1.52 times over the past decade which was the second biggest increase rate from among the OECD countries.
The private burden of individuals was also high in Korea with the individual burden rate standing at 3.1 percent, three times that of the OECD average of 0.9 percent.