Country education rankings: Competitiveness and the comparative role of country education rankings

Country education rankings enable policy makers to compare their national education systems with other countries and thus to set objectives that will help them improve in their education rankings. Country education rankings are an attempt to collect empirical data to analyze the intricacies of educational institutions across the world. Country education rankings imply a collection of descriptive data aiming at the development of a rigorous and logical conceptual framework accompanied by sophisticated statistical techniques involving measurements and case selection. Country education rankings reflect a particular understating of what it means to be effective in terms of education at the national level. For example, education is considered as a fundamental element of human capital and human well-being, and thus a great contributor to the improvement of the quality of life. Country education rankings thus highlight the state of human capital development in the ranked countries by allowing for the comparison of countries' systems.

In a sense, the development of the country education rankings establishes rules and standards for comparative analysis. Country education rankings compare educational structures and processes, the impact of policy-makers on the educational system, and thus facilitate the assessment of similarities and differences across countries. The comparative nature of country education rankings enables key actors to identify a specific development path for their educational system and to establish desired educational objectives by allowing them to benchmark their national system with a variety of other systems.

The elaboration of country education rankings can take into account different aspects and disciplines including numeracy, literacy and science. Country education rankings allow us to analyze and juxtapose educational systems following the set of chosen factors. For example, country education rankings enable us to explain the nature and origin of differences among educational systems and to assess the extent of those differences. In short, country education rankings implicate an extraordinary effort at systematically collecting data across a variety of case studies to facilitate the understanding of what constitute an effective educational system.

A competitiveness index should thus include several factors related to country education rankings. Those factors include an assessment of the skills and competencies—types and extent—available in a particular competitiveness landscape. In addition, competitiveness country rankings include several factors that determine the public expenditure in education, the pupil/teacher ratio and the management of the education system. Also, a competitiveness index preoccupies itself with student mobility, students' language proficiency, the quality of the teaching of sciences and the level of higher education achievement. The implication is that these factors underline the attractiveness of specific competitiveness landscape by reflecting the degree of government efficiency in establishing a sound scientific infrastructure and in supporting the development of highly skilled labor force .Country education rankings allow for competiveness to consider the evolution of different educational systems. The assessment of competitiveness thus greatly benefits from the comparative role of the country education rankings.


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Recommended readings

Dogan, M. &Pélassy, D., 1990. How to Compare Nations: Strategies in Comparative Politics. London: Chatham House Publishers.

King, G., Keohane, R. O. &Verba, S., 1994. Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Landman, T., 2008. Issues and Methods in Comparative Politics: An Introduction. New York: Routledge.

Mahoney, J. & Rueschemeyer, D., 2003. Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

UNDP, 2013 (and various other years). 2013 Human Development Report—The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World. New York: United Nations Development Programme.

Suggested websites

the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment

The IMD World Competitiveness Center's Yearbook

the UNDP's Human Development Reports