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The editors at Masters in Teaching Degrees decided to research the topic of
Education: The Highs and Lows
Proper education is a many-faceted endeavor. There's no-size-fits all plan, but some systems work, while others lag far behind. 7.8 years is the worldwide average for educational attainment. This number nearly doubles, however, for the first world, both accelerating growth in technical fields, and leaving the third world farther behind. What is your country doing to protect it's future?
[From Legatum prosperity index.]
Based on educational correlates to prosperity:
- 1.)Access to education
- 2.)Quality of Education
- 3.)And Human Capital
- --(The ecosystem of education and economic success or failure in a place.)
Best educational systems:
- 1.New Zealand
- 5.United States
- 7.South Korea
- 9. Slovenia
Worst educational system:
- 1. Central African Republic
- 2. Niger
- 3. Chad
- 4. Afghanistan
- 5. Burkina Faso
- 6. Mali
- 7. Djibouti
- 8. Cote d'Ivoire
- 9. Ethiopia
- 10.Republic of Congo
New Zealand 
Teachers in New Zealand have multiple tea-time breaks per day, allowing for community and collaboration. Primary students recieve time outside to play, and faculty are on a six-day rotation for professional development days.
Communities rally around Australian schools, with many comunities instituting a "walking bus" policy, in which parents walk a route to school, picking children up along the way. Weather can be harsh, and many regions require 'sun-hats' for children to play.
Canadian schools are noted for their ability to minimize the effects of socioeconomic levels on a student's performance. Teachers are highly trained and play an active role in instituting cutting edge reform.
Tawanese schools excel at math, language, and the arts from a very early age. High schools are highly competitive, with the brightest students given greater challenges and more resources. Tawanese colleges, however, lag behind those of other top educational systems.
United States 
Market driven methods have exploded over the past few years. With tax vouchers, charter, and magnet schools offering different approaches to education. Common core curriculum offers a universal world class curriculum. And the United States is home to many of the best Universities in the world.
These five countries are impoverished and have horrible education systems. It is nearly impossible to escape poverty (defined as $2500 per capita GDP), however, without at least an 80% literacy rate.
Central African Republic 
Though the nation spends 25% of their budget on education, meager teacher salaries and the AIDS epidemic decimated ranks of teachers. Very little data has been gathered in Central African Republic since 2001. 
Massive nomadic populations render education difficult.One of the lowest literacy rates, particularly among women, in the world is another problem. Officially, education until 15 is mandentory, but the use of troops to compel parents to send their children to school in the 60's has pushed many parents to not even register the births of their children anymore. 
The Chadian education system is in a state of crisis. Exemplified in the 9% of students passing high school exit exams last year, and exacerbated by the 2% of the national budget that is spent on education. Rampant corruption, and the disbursed nature of the populace contribute to the educational system's decay. 
Women are massively underrepresented in Afghani schools. Largely because, unlike in Taliban times, violence, sexual assault, coercion, and terror are being used to keep girls at home.
Burkina Faso 
Massive malnutrition and the lack of girls in the public education system make Burkina Faso the fifth worst educational system in the world.
Africa: a portrait
- The crippling factors have remained the same for many African nations, but there are rays of hope.
- Problems: Tribal sprawl, corruption, war, poverty, lack of infrastructure, lacking social capital.
- 17/21 major conflicts of the 2000's have ended in Africa.
- 6 African nations now rank in the top 100 educational systems.
- Including South Africa,Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Botswana, and Namibia.
- South Africa boasts the best university system in Africa. With 6 ranking in the top 1000 worldwide.
- While north African institutions boast long histories, weathering, numerous invasions, migrations, and political transitions.
- The University of Al-Karaouine in Fes, Morocco, is the oldest continually running African instituion, dating from 859 A.D.
Standardized test scores
- Largely a luxery of educational administrations of the first world, the standerdized test rankings (for PISA) show the disperity between testing success and overall education success.
- Note that while China is #1 in all three testing catagories, the education component of its prosperity index rank is 50th-ranked.
Top 10: reading
- 1.China: Shanghai
- 4.Hong Kong
- 7.New Zealand
- 10. Netherlands
Top 10: math
- 1.China: Shanghai
- 3.Hong Kong
- 5.Chinese taipei
- 6. Finland
- 8. Switzerland
Top 10: science
- 1.China Shanghai
- 3.Hong Kong
- 7.New Zealand
Question: Why are Asian nations disproportionatelly ranked highly for standardized tests?
Unlike western countries, early competition is used throughout many Asian nations, with successful students given more resources through their high school years. Where much of the west uses high school and college to distinguish the most talented pupils, this distinction begins in elementary school throughout much of the far east.
Highs and lows aren't just marks on a test. From Oxford to a tent in Burkina Faso, education matters for health, prosperity, progress, and personal well-being.
-  http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development-professionals-network/2013/jun/21/funding-education-in-afghanistan
-  http://www.oecd.org/education/educationlevelsrisinginoecdcountriesbutlowattainmentstillhamperssome.htm