Latest Global School Rankings: Ghana Crashes To The Bottom


The biggest ever global school rankings have been published, with Asian countries at the top five places and African countries coming at the tail end of the list.

Singapore heads the table, followed by Hong Kong, with Ghana at the bottom.

The UK is in 20th place, among higher achieving European countries, with the US in 28th.

The OECD economic think tank says the comparisons – based on test scores in 76 countries – show the link between education and economic growth.

“This is the first time we have a truly global scale of the quality of education,” said the OECD’s education director, Andreas Schleicher.

“The idea is to give more countries, rich and poor, access to comparing themselves against the world’s education leaders, to discover their relative strengths and weaknesses, and to see what the long-term economic gains from improved quality in schooling could be for them,” he said.

It shows once again the poor performance of the United States, slipping behind successful European countries and being overtaken by Vietnam. It also highlights the decline of Sweden, with the OECD warning last week that it had serious problems in its education system.

The rankings are based on an amalgamation of international assessments, including the OECD’s Pisa tests, the TIMSS tests run by US-based academics and TERCE tests in Latin America, putting developed and developing countries on a single scale.

The findings will be formally presented at the World Education Forum in South Korea next week, where the United Nations is to convene a conference on targets for raising global education by 2030.

The top five places were all taken by Asian countries – Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

Countries Ranked Based on Mathematics and Sciences

1. Singapore

2. Hong Kong

3. South Korea

4. Japan (joint)

4. Taiwan (joint)

6. Finland

7. Estonia

8. Switzerland

9. Netherlands

10. Canada

11. Poland

12. Vietnam

13. Germany

14. Australia

15. Ireland

16. Belgium

17. New Zealand

18. Slovenia

19. Austria

20. United Kingdom

21. Czech Republic

22. Denmark

23. France

24. Latvia

25. Norway

26. Luxembourg

27. Spain

28. Italy (joint)

28. United States (joint)

30. Portugal

The five lowest-ranked countries are Oman in 72nd, Morocco, Honduras, South Africa and Ghana in last spot.

“If you go to an Asian classroom you’ll find teachers who expect every student to succeed. There’s a lot of rigour, a lot of focus and coherence,” says Mr Schleicher.

“These countries are also very good at attracting the most talented teachers in the most challenging classrooms, so that every student has access to excellent teachers.”

The report, published by the OECD and written by Eric Hanushek from Stanford University and Ludger Woessmann from Munich University, argues that the standard of education is a “powerful predictor of the wealth that countries will produce in the long run”.

If Ghana, the lowest ranked country, achieved basic skills for all its 15-year-olds, the report says that it would expand its current GDP by 38 times, over the lifetime of today’s youngsters.

The report will provide evidence for next week’s World Education Forum of how achieving education targets can deliver economic gains.

The milestone conference, under the auspices of the United Nations, will mark 15 years since the setting of education targets by world leaders.

These millennium targets for education, such as providing all children with a primary education, have not been fully achieved.

But the World Education Forum will set another round of global targets for the next 15 years. The list continues below:

31. Lithuania

32. Hungary

33. Iceland

34. Russia

35. Sweden

36. Croatia

37. Slovak Republic

38. Ukraine

39. Israel

40. Greece

41. Turkey

42. Serbia

43. Bulgaria

44. Romania

45. UAE

46. Cyprus

47. Thailand

48. Chile

49. Kazakhstan

50. Armenia

51. Iran

52. Malaysia

53. Costa Rica

54. Mexico

55. Uruguay

56. Montenegro

57. Bahrain

58. Lebanon

59. Georgia

60. Brazil

61. Jordan

62. Argentina

63. Albania

64. Tunisia

65. Macedonia

66. Saudi Arabia

67. Colombia

68. Qatar

69. Indonesia

70. Botswana

71. Peru

72. Oman

73. Morocco

74. Honduras

75. South Africa

76. Ghana