UK education system

20 best higher education systems in the world

By Chris Tucker• Last updated: Oct 31, 2023
20 best higher education systems in the world
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Did your country make the top 20 on the QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings?

If not, don't worry – plenty of other great countries have strong higher education systems.

But international students need to know which countries have the best education system in the world rankings, so they can make an informed decision about where to study.

The QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings lists the best countries to go to college based on the strength of their higher education systems. Each country is marked by four criteria: system strength, access, flagship institution, and economic context.

The rankings consider the standing of each country’s leading institution and how strong the system is with respect to the nation’s GDP per capita.

So what do these rankings mean for students and their families worldwide?

Read on to find out.

20 best higher education systems in the world

Here is the list of the top 20 higher education systems in the world:

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How was the list compiled and what are the four criteria used

The QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings are based on data from the QS World University Rankings.

This includes information about each country’s best university and their higher education system strength, access, and economic context.

System strength relates to how strong the higher education system is in comparison to other countries; access is the number of places available at the best universities in each country, flagship institution is about the ranking of each country’s best university, and economic context is a measure of how strong the system is concerning the nation’s GDP per capita.

These rankings provide useful information for international students studying abroad, showing which countries have the best higher education systems.

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United States

The United States takes the number one spot on the list due to its large number of prestigious universities and well-developed higher education system.

With world-famous universities such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford among its ranks, the US education ranking for the universities are high and has a wide range of educational opportunities for international students.

In addition to access to quality education, the US also offers generous financial aid options and visa policies that make it easier for international students to study in America.

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United Kingdom

The United Kingdom comes second and is home to some of the world’s most renowned universities, such as University of Cambridge and Oxford.

It has a well-developed higher education system that provides international students with access to quality education and generous student aid packages. In addition, the UK boasts welcoming visa policies and affordable tuition fees compared to other countries.

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Australia

Australia is at number three and boasts some of the best universities in the world, such as the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney.

International students have access to top-notch education at an affordable cost, making Australia a great choice for those studying abroad.

Related article: Australian Universities with High Acceptance Rate

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Germany

Germany has a strong higher education system ranked fourth best in the world.

The country has many top universities, including Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Technische Universität München, and Ruprecht-Karls-Universitt Heidelberg.

One of the unique features of the German education system is that students are required to complete a year of practical work in their field before graduation. This helps prepare students for working in the real world after they graduate.

Canada

Canada is ranked as one of the top 5 countries that offers the world the best education.

Some of Canada's top universities include McGill University, Université de Montréal, University of Toronto, and Queen's University.

All these universities offer a wide range of programs and degrees to choose from.

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France

France is home to some of the best universities in the world, and international students have a wealth of options when it comes to choosing a school.

Some of France's most prestigious universities include Université de Paris-Sorbonne, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, and Université Pierre et Marie Curie.

These schools offer a wide range of degree programs and specialisations, making it easy for students to find the right school for their needs.

Netherlands

The Netherlands is known as one of the best countries in the world for higher education, with some of the best universities in the world.

Some top universities in the Netherlands include University of Amsterdam, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Utrecht University and Wageningen University.

The Netherlands has a long history of offering high-quality education. Its universities are consistently ranked among the best in the world, and they offer a wide range of courses that cater to a variety of interests and needs. Students studying in the Netherlands can expect an excellent education that will prepare them for future success.

China

China is known for having one of the best higher education systems in the world.

The country has a number of top universities, and students who graduate from these schools have excellent job prospects. I

In addition, the Chinese economy is strong, providing graduates with good job opportunities.

The cost of living is also relatively low, making it an attractive destination for international students.

South Korea

South Korea is a leading country in terms of technology and has some of the best universities in the world.

The education system in South Korea is one of the best in the world and offers many benefits to students. One of these benefits is that students are able to get a good job after they graduate.

Another benefit is that the universities in South Korea are very well known for their research and innovation.

Japan

Japan has a good higher education system in the world for many reasons.

The first is that Japan has some of the best universities in the world. The University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, and Keio University are all ranked in the top 50 universities in the world according to Times Higher Education Rankings.

Another reason why Japan’s education system is so good is because it places a lot of importance on learning English. In order to graduate from high school in Japan, students are required to pass an English proficiency test. This ensures that all Japanese students are proficient in English, which gives them a global advantage when competing for jobs or attending university abroad.

Italy

Italy is known for having one of the best higher education systems in the world. The country has a long history of academic excellence, with some of the world's top universities located there.

Students who attend an Italian university can expect to receive a high-quality education that will prepare them for future success.

Benefits of the Italian Education System include an excellent faculty; the professors at Italian universities are highly skilled and experienced professionals; and a diverse student body.

Spain

Spain has a world-renowned education system known for its top universities and rigorous coursework.

Students who graduate from a Spanish university are highly sought after by employers worldwide, thanks to the well-rounded education they receive and the global network of contacts they make while studying in Spain.

The best universities in Spain are located in Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia. These cities provide students with some of the best learning environments and opportunities to network with other international students.

Additionally, Spanish universities offer a wide range of courses in all subjects that help to create well-rounded graduates who have a competitive edge when looking for employment.

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Switzerland

One of the best education systems in the world can be found in Switzerland. This small, mountainous country has several top-ranked universities, as well as a rigorous system of higher education that prepares students for successful careers.

One of the benefits of studying in Switzerland includes excellent universities. The University of Zurich, ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and Lausanne Hospitality School are all ranked among the best universities in the world.

Another includes Switzerland's multilingual environment. Switzerland is home to four national languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. This makes it an ideal place to learn multiple languages and cultures simultaneously.

Sweden

Sweden has one of the best education systems in the world, according to the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) report.

Sweden was praised for its strong governance, excellent infrastructure and high-quality teaching staff.

The top universities in Sweden include Lund University, Karolinska Institute, Royal Institute of Technology and Stockholm School of Economics.

Sweden's education system is known for its focus on creativity and innovation. Students are encouraged to be independent thinkers and problem solvers. The Swedish government also invests heavily in education, which helps maintain a high quality standard.

Russia

Russia has a good higher education system in the world for many reasons.

One reason is that Russia has many top universities, which are highly respected worldwide.

Another reason is that the Russian education system offers many benefits to students, such as a strong focus on academics and research, excellent facilities, and great networking and professional development opportunities.

Additionally, unlike many countries with similar education systems, Russia offers a low cost of living and tuition fees.

New Zealand

The best education system in the world can be found in New Zealand. This is according to the latest World University Rankings, which has placed five New Zealand universities in the top 200.

The benefits of a New Zealand education are many and varied. Students can expect high-quality teaching, excellent research opportunities and a welcoming, safe environment. The country’s top universities include the University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington, University of Otago, Massey University and Lincoln University.

New Zealand has also gained attention for its innovative approach to tertiary education. The government is investing heavily in developing new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as in research partnerships with leading international universities.

Study in New Zealand for International Students

Belgium

Belgium is a small country located in Western Europe. Despite its small size, Belgium has a world-class education system which ranks among the best in the world.

One of the main reasons for Belgium’s success in education is its strong emphasis on research and development. The government has made significant investments in universities and research centres, which has some of the best education system in Europe. Some of these universities are ranked among the top 100 universities in the world.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is known for having one of the best education systems in the world. This is because the country has several top universities, which are ranked highly by international organizations.

In addition, Hong Kong students have access to various excellent educational resources, including libraries, laboratories, and classrooms.

Moreover, many of the best universities in Hong Kong offer scholarships to international students. As such, it is a great option for those looking for quality education at an affordable cost.

Taiwan

Taiwan has a good higher education system in the world for many reasons. One reason is that Taiwan has many top universities which are highly respected worldwide.

Another reason is that the Taiwan education system emphasizes creativity and innovation, which prepares students for the working world. The Taiwan education system is affordable and provides great value for money.

Finland

Finland has a good higher education system in the world for many reasons. For example, Finland has some of the best universities in the world. The University of Helsinki is ranked as one of the top 100 universities in the world and is considered to have one of the best education system in the Finland.

Additionally, Finnish students have a lot of freedom regarding their education. They can choose their courses and majors, which allows them to explore different fields and find their passion.

Lastly, the Finnish education system is affordable, making it accessible to students from all backgrounds.

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Chris is the Content Manager at Edvoy based in Manchester. His interests include running, reading, walking his dog, and all things content. 

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