In a ranking of global education systems published by Pearson in November 2012, Singapore ranks at number 5 among 40 other countries. While Singapore may rank ahead of the UK and US, there are many worthy lessons to be drawn when we look into the details that make up the numbers.
Pearson’s Top-10 Global Education Rankings
1. Singapore ranks 33 in Educational Attainment
It is surprising that Singapore manages to emerge 5th overall despite a very poor ranking in Educational Attainment (EA). The EA comprises of literacy and graduation rates at the secondary and tertiary level of education. While literacy may not appear to be a problem in Singapore according to the study by OECD, our graduation rate apparently needs to be worked on. The government has already set in motion the establishment of more tertiary education institutions. This will see each cohort with 50% or more students graduate with degrees.
2. The Education culture is more important than spending
That the top positions are occupied by asian powerhouses should be no surprise, given the very strong culture of education that pervades our societies. While it may seem intuitive that with more monetary investment in education should produce higher test scores, the study points to the wider support for education as being more crucial.
3. No substitute for good teachers
Interestingly, good teachers have been statistically linked to higher income (of students) later in life, lower chances of teenage pregnancy, and a higher tendency to save for their own retirement. Higher salaries accomplish little by themselves, but having a reasonable base rate is essential for drawing the best talents into teaching.
BBC Education: UK Education sixth in global ranking
Pearson’s Learning Curve Report: Executive Summary