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Where to find the best education around the world

The United States places 17th in the developed world for education, according to a global report by education firm Pearson, the Huffington Post reports. Finland and South Korea, not surprisingly, top the list of 40 developed countries with the best education systems. Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore follow. The rankings are calculated based on various measures, including international test scores, graduation rates between 2006 and 2010, and the prevalence of higher education seekers. Pearson’s chief education adviser Sir Michael Barber tells BBC that the high ranking countries tend to offer teachers higher status in society and have a “culture” of education. The study notes that while funding is an important factor in strong education systems, cultures supportive of learning is even more critical — as evidenced by the highly ranked Asian countries, where education is highly valued and parents have grand expectation. While Finland and South Korea differ greatly in methods of teaching and learning, they hold the top spots because of a shared social belief in the importance of education and its “underlying moral purpose.”

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