10 Most Educated Countries in the World

The role of education is significant in determining both an individual’s and a nation’s continued prospects.

According to a 2017 UNESCO report, pupils attending higher education institutions went up from 100 million to 207 million between 2000 and 2014.

However, a significant gap in educational attainment persists; while most adults in more economically developed countries are literate, education is valued low in underdeveloped and undeveloped countries.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a leading think tank among developed-country governments, has examined education levels among its representatives.

The resulting data was obtained in 2019, or the most recent available year, and includes the proportion of both sexes aged 25 to 34 years old.

Take a look at the world’s most developed societies, as measured by the percentage of the total population with tertiary (highest level) education.


1. Republic of Korea (69.8 percent)

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According to the OECD’s “Learning at a Glance” report from 2019, almost every young adult in Korea has an upper secondary qualifier. Those with tertiary education have an above-average employment rate.

According to a 2017 report, 90% of the 3-17-year-olds, 87 % of the 15-19-year-olds, and 50% of the 20-24 year-olds enrolled in school.

The government spends more than the OECD’s average spent at primary and secondary levels combined. Enrolment rates in young life and care are high, with most kids enrolled in private entities.


2. The United States (63 percent)

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According to the OECD, Canada has many tertiary-educated adults; a few have progressed tertiary degrees.

“Despite this above-average achieving, the percentage of tertiary-educated younger individuals who have acquired a master’s or a doctoral degree is under the OECD average,” the organization writes.

One-quarter of 25-34-year-olds had finished a short-cycle tertiary program, and roughly the same percentage had finished a bachelor’s degree. Still, only approximately 10% had completed a master of engineering degree, compared to the OECD average of 15%.


3. The Russian Federation (62.1 percent)

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According to an OECD report, while Russia has well-educated inhabitants, tertiary education spending remains significantly lower than the OECD average.

According to the organization, “the Russian Federation’s tertiary expenditure per student in 2016 was $8,479, one of the lowest rates among OECD countries, compared to an average level of $15,556.”


4. Japan (61.5 percent)

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According to an OECD report, despite Japan’s well-developed tertiary education system, its educators are “rather homogeneous.”

According to the organization, “over half of 25-64 year-olds had tertiary education in 2018, 13 percent higher than the OECD average.”

However, compared to other OECD countries, Japan has a relatively low proportion of adult and overseas students.”


5. Lithuania (55.2 percent)

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Tertiary educational attainment has increased over the last decade, and tertiary-educated adults have abundant job opportunities.

However, according to an OECD report, Lithuania’s total expenditure per pupil is lower than the average, particularly at the tertiary level.

“Lithuania spends $7,700 per tertiary student, compared to the OECD average of $15,600,” the organization writes.


6. Ireland (55.4 per cent)

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According to the OECD, good employment prospects and completion rates constitute high educational levels in Ireland, with “Nearly half of the adults (47 % of (25-64-year-olds) managing to earn a university degree, which is one of the highest shares among OECD countries,” said the organization. 


7. Luxembourg (55 per cent)

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Among countries with data, Luxembourg does have one of the highest proportions of adults enrolled in non-job-related education.

According to the OECD, “a master’s degree is the most common qualifying criteria held by tertiary-educated grownups in Luxembourg.”

According to the OECD, a master’s degree has twice the employment advantage over a bachelor’s degree.”

“While Luxembourg reports a higher job balance than the estimate, work-life balance significantly reduces with higher educational levels, a similar trend to other nations,” the report adds.


8. Switzerland  (52.7 per cent)

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According to the OECD, Switzerland has the most significant percentage of tertiary-educated adults and the second-highest percentage of post-doctoral holders among OECD countries.

Doctoral programs appear to be very appealing to international students in this country.


9. Austria (52.5 per cent)

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According to an OECD report, funding remains a problem in Austria’s higher education system, which “prevents Austria from improving education outcomes.”

“The large increases in several students in recent years have still not been matched by correlating increases in staff or funding,” it said.


10. The United Kingdom (51.8% of the total)

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According to an OECD report, while tertiary-educated laborers outperform the labor market, their study area has a “significant effect.”

“In the United Kingdom, tertiary-educated adults have a five proportion of total point lower unemployment rate than those with a high school or post-secondary non-tertiary qualification,” according to the organization.

“This is a small advantage; only five other OECD countries have such a smaller workforce advantage. However, those with a higher secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary qualification have a relatively high employment rate in the UK.”