10 Countries with the Best Higher Education

The Ivy League – and all of the schools within this elite group – may be an American exclusive, but the U.S. is hardly the only country in the world with laudable universities. Below are ten countries (in no particular order) with the best higher education, whether it is due to the country possessing the best colleges, most graduates, or best learning environments in general.

  1. Canada. With more than 1.6 million students enrolled in college and that student demographic making up approximately 55% of the entire population, Canada is the leader in higher education when it comes to the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds who hold an associate degree or higher, according to a report published by The College Board. In fact, in 2008 alone, Canadian college graduates earned approximately 185,000 bachelor’s degrees, 37,000 master’s degrees, and 5,000 doctoral degrees, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada stated. These stunning figures are unsurprising when considering how Canada’s long been considered the home to numerous famous schools, including the prestigious McGill University, which produced no less than seven Nobel Prize-winning graduates since 1977.
  2. England. England is home to four of the top ten universities in the world, according to a 2010 ranking compiled by U.S. News and Report. In fact, the coveted Number One spot belongs to the country’s University of Cambridge, the alma mater for notable graduates such as Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. England’s plethora of successful graduates and award-winning schools cements it as one of the ten countries with the best higher education.
  3. United States of America. With six schools in the top ten rankings of world’s best universities published by U.S. News and Report, America makes a strong showing as one of the best countries for higher education. Between 1997 and 2007, the enrollment of full-time students increased 34%, and the enrollment of part-time students increased 15%, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In addition, the enrollment of minorities in college degree programs are steadily increasing as well, as well as the enrollment (and graduation rate) of women. With a rising student population and some of the best schools in the world, including Harvard University and Yale University, the U.S. will undoubtedly remain one of the top countries for higher education for years to come.
  4. Israel. In the past two decades, Israel has more than tripled its number of colleges and universities. Coinciding with this increase in places to learn was an increase in enrollment, with a whopping 80% jump in students, according to The Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy. Past issues with higher education funding and faculty are being improved upon so that students in Israel have a better chance at achieving a better education through one of the nation’s numerous institutions. In fact, Israel ranks as the country with the third biggest percentage of 25- to 64-year-old associate and higher degree holders with 43.6% of the entire population possessing a college education, according to a report published by The College Board, making it one of the best places for university learning.
  5. Japan. Though Japan’s higher education scene is recently making headlines for its lack of students studying abroad, this does not affect the simple fact that the college scene in this country is one of the best in the world. In fact, 41% of all 25- to 64-year-olds in Japan hold at least an associate degree, according to The College Board. As one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries, Japan’s innovations showcase the country’s hunger for education and inspiration. Schools include the prestigious University of Tokyo, which has produced seven Nobel Prize-winning alumni, and Kyoto University, one of the oldest institutes of higher education in the country.
  6. Australia. The steadily increasing student enrollment numbers hints at the academic edge Australia has as one of the best countries for higher education in the world. In the first half of the 2010 school year, there were approximately 1,037,945 students officially registered in a degree program. Of these students, more than half were female, making Australia one of the few countries where female scholars share the same presence as male scholars, according to Australia’s Department of Education, Employment, and Workplace Relations. The country has also recently committed $1.3 billion for the improvement of education quality.
  7. Korea. There are more than 300 universities and colleges in Korea, and approximately 3.5 million students attending those schools, according to a report by East-West Center, an organization focused on improving the relationships between people in the U.S. and those in Asia and the Pacific. The number of female students is rapidly increasing as well, jumping to 40.9% of the entire student population in 2008 from just 38.3% of the student population in 2000. One of the country’s largest schools, Seoul National University, ranks as the 50th best school in the world, according to U.S. News and Report.
  8. Germany. In the winter semester of 2009-2010, approximately 2.12 million students were enrolled in Germany’s 409 universities and colleges, according to the German Academic Exchange Service. Schools in Germany are subject to different guidelines and standards, depending on which of the 16 states they are located in, but one thing remains the same – quality. Colleges such as the University of Göttingen, which was ranked as the 43rd best school in the world by Times Higher Education have a long-established reputation of prestige.
  9. Ireland. Ireland has the third highest level of college-level educational attainment at 36%, according to NationMaster.com, a site that organizes the data from the CIA World Factbook. In addition, it is the home of Trinity College, Dublin, one of the top higher education institutions in the world, ranking at number 76 in the most recent Times Higher Education report. Founded in 1592, the school still draws in thousands of students every year for undergraduate and postgraduate studies, and its famous alumni include authors Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde.
  10. India. In terms of size and diversity, India’s higher education is the third largest in the world, according to The World Bank, an organization focused on helping to end poverty in developing countries. During 2004 and 2005, the number of colleges for general education in India increased by 950, jumping from 9,427 colleges to 10,377 colleges in little more than a year. The country is quickly progressing and encouraging more students to enroll in degree programs, and India’s education in engineering and mathematical disciplines are rapidly gaining recognition around the globe.

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