School is very important to your children’s social development, so if you are moving abroad with children, it’s important to make sure they can access the highest quality teaching in a foreign country.
In addition, studying abroad comes with several perks, such as opening you up to a whole range of new experiences, allowing you to see the world and furthering your career prospects.
The experts have ranked the top 10 countries to study in, based on factors such as their structure, finances and performance of education systems:
1. Japan – As well as having one of the best healthcare systems worldwide, Japan takes education extremely seriously and ranks first. With an economy based heavily on science, engineering and technology, it’s no wonder Japanese students produce the highest grades in the world for both science and mathematics at secondary level.
2. Estonia – Estonia has a fantastic reputation for education: this tiny Baltic state topped the OECD leaderboards in 2021 for reading performance, also finishing second worldwide for science and third for mathematics. Students can find free study programmes, but these are more common at Master’s and PhD levels.
3. South Korea – Boasting of having the world’s most educated population, with 91% of people having completed secondary education, the country ranks second worldwide for mathematics, third for science and fourth for reading comprehension. Obsessed with education, South Korea even has a term for it: “education fever”.
4. Canada – Coming third in the world for reading, fourth for science and seventh for mathematics, children growing up in Quebec and Ontario can also expect to receive an education in French as well as English. Plus, the country is renowned as one of the most liberal and progressive societies in the world, making it a really exciting and energising place to live, no matter what background you’re from.
5. Poland – With one of the highest rates of students in secondary education, Poland is coming fifth in the world for science and reading comprehension and sixth for mathematics. As education is mandatory until 18 years old there, Poland has one of the highest rates of students in secondary education across the world.
6. Finland – Along with being widely recognised as one of the safest, greenest and most environmentally friendly countries in the world, Finland can boast of having one of the best education systems in the world, ranking sixth for science and reading, and thirteenth worldwide for mathematics. All universities in Finland are free for EU citizens. Non-EU citizens should expect to pay around €3,000 per year, unless applying for a course taught in Swedish or Finnish as these are always free.
7. Germany – Germany is a dream destination for expats wanting a quality education. The country is a big spender on education, which is reflected in its famously spic-and-span classrooms, its beautifully-designed school buildings and its top-of-the-range facilities. Plus, university in Germany is free for all students.
8. United States – Spending the most on education, America takes pride in producing so many modern-day CEOs, academics and artists. The country places a strong emphasis on science, business and technology and, as such, ranks 7th for reading comprehension and 10th for science.
9. Ireland – Ireland comes a respectable 14th in the world for mathematics and 18th for science, but it’s reading comprehension where the Emerald Isle shines – ranking second in the whole world. The level of educational attainment is fast-improving in Ireland, too. 56% of people have a secondary qualification, while 30% have completed tertiary education.
10. New Zealand – The picturesque bays and mountains in New Zealand are laid by its education level. It comes in the best countries in the world for reading comprehension and science, and in the top 20 for mathematics.
Whether you choose to send your child to a local school may depend on the standard of state education in the country you’re moving to. However, one advantage of doing this is that it will help your child learn the language of their new home – something that will stand them in good stead in the future.
On the other hand, an international school will enable your children to meet others in a similar situation to them, which may help them settle in as making the move to another country can be challenging. Frame the move as a great opportunity and adventure, not as a challenge.