8 Things We Can Learn From Successful Education Systems Over The World

8 Things We Can Learn From Successful Education Systems Over The World

Education systems around the world have long been tested and refined to produce high academic results and cultivate personal growth for children. Wherever you go to school in the world, your education is primarily influenced by the culture and mindset of that country, and while no education system is perfect, there are some countries that gain good academic results and personal skills that help people transcend through life.

So which countries seem to get it “right” when it comes to a child’s education and what are the factors that make them so successful? Many countries structure their education in different ways, but here are four countries whose educational successes lead us to examine how their priorities affect the way in which their education systems are formed and what we can learn from them.


Developing character before knowledge

Anyone who has visited Japan will notice that the Japanese have a very polite character with immaculate manners. This is because Japanese culture has a very strong emphasis on the focus of building up the character of a child before starting traditional education with formal exams and testing.

The first few years of a child’s school life in Japan is spent developing respect, compassion, and generosity as part of their nature, as well as the difference between right and wrong, justice, self-control, and determination. These traits help establish a sense of balance needed to succeed in school and life going forward.


Japanese students clean their school themselves.

While many schools employ janitors to clean every nook and cranny, in Japan the classrooms, hallways, cafeterias, and even the toilets are all washed and cleaned by the students themselves.

Divided into groups, the students go about doing their cleaning duties on a daily basis, and the reason for this being part of the education system in Japan is because it teaches a child not only how to clean and the importance of a cleaning routine, but also promotes teamwork between fellow pupils and respect for their own work and the work of others.


Less Is More

Finland has also been hailed a great success when it comes to their education system. Part of this is down to their idea that less is more. Teachers in Finland spend around 600 hours a year teaching in the classroom — this is compared to almost double that for teachers in America. The advantage of spending less time standing in front of the children is more time for teachers to invest in professional development, which ultimately results in quality of hours a teacher spends educating rather than quantity. This doesn’t just result in a win for the children, but also the teaching staff too.

Kids Spend More Time Outside

Finland and other Scandinavian countries, including Norway and Sweden, put a big emphasis on being outside in nature. Because of this, children in Finland spend a vast amount of time exploring and playing, and it is seen as an important component to learning that is just as important as the classroom environment.


Even in the depths of winter, children are found playing outside or taking educational trips into the forests or mountains. Apart from encouraging children to be active, being in nature has been found to have great beneficial effects on well-being and happiness and helps the brain in a great number of ways.


More Is Invested in Technology

Singapore has one of the highest achieving school statistics in Asia and the world, and a lot has been invested in the technology support within the classrooms for both children and teachers.

There is a massive emphasis on technology being a leverage to improving Singapore schools and the opportunity for children to access information. They invest in digital learning with high-speed internet access for all and digital textbooks, making learning materials much more accessible, especially to students from lower income households.

Introducing the Importance of Positive Psychology

In Singapore, there has been considerable reform in the education system over recent years. One particular addition has been a social and emotional skills curriculum that focuses on recent discoveries on positive psychology around mindset, resilience, and grit. Positive education is seen as a fundamental and important integration into the classroom that cultivates and shapes the way in which subjects are taught and to educate children on different ways of encouraging positivity in their lives.



No Comparisons Between Schools

National curriculum tests in different countries around the world are used to compare the achievements of different schools, and this can put a lot of pressure on performance from the children, getting in the way of the enjoyment, personal growth, and achievement. In Germany, league tables aren’t published, meaning schools aren’t constantly worried about their reputation, and therefore, are less target-driven.

German schools ensure that monitoring of both teachers and pupils is not excessive, which lessens the chance of the teacher’s creativity being inhibited. This allows there to be more focus on the process of education rather than the results, giving children a less pressured, enjoyable approach to learning.

Less Segregation Between Children of Differing Learning Levels

Segregating children into different levels of learning is big practice in many schools around the world with some children being physically put into different classrooms depending on their level of need. In Germany, schools have been consolidated into more general comprehensive schools that have the ability to cultivate and support children of all levels within the same environment. This breaks down the segregation between children on different learning paths and fosters flexibility in their learning, which eliminates the stigma that comes with segregation.

The Perfect Education System?

While many western education systems are turning to Asia for their high-achieving secrets, there doesn’t seem to be one system that has the ability to cover all needs, instilled cultural differences, and opinions. The one thing that does stand out is the investment in emotional and positivity strategies that go towards shaping a child in a way that encourages a mindset that will help in all areas of their life.


Not only that, but the importance of investment in teachers’ professional quality and further development. Whatever your view on the perfect educational system, we can look to one another to take away valuable ideas on the best route to educational success.

Featured photo credit: via

More by this author

Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

How to Celebrate Small Wins to Achieve Big Goals Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset How To Overcome Self Imposed Limitations For Goal Setting To Reach Your Goals, Start With Planning For The Worst Why Setting Intrinsic Goals Can Make You Happier

Trending in Society

1 9 Harsh But True Illustrations that Show Our Changed Society 2 Top 10 Most Affordable Cities in Southern California 3 10 German Jokes That Are Actually Funny 4 Streaming or Downloading: Which Is the Best Use of Your Mobile Data? 5 Three Ways Technology may not be Improving your Life

Read Next


9 Harsh But True Illustrations that Show Our Changed Society

9 Harsh But True Illustrations that Show Our Changed Society

Let’s face it.  We are living in a digital age, and there is absolutely no turning back. One of the biggest influences on society these days is social media. It affects us both positively and negatively. Social media was originally designed for people to share interesting facets of their lives with their friends, but it has become so much more than what it intended to be. It is now a medium for information to pass around the globe. In many cases, people first learn about current events through Twitter or Facebook before hearing about them from conventional news sources.

We also rely on technology for nearly everything we do. People these days seem as if they can’t go anywhere or do anything without their smartphones, tablets, or laptops. They need to be in constant contact with others via electronic devices.

However, there is also a downside to be too connected to social media and electronic devices. We are too dependent on them, which make us oblivious to what we are doing to ourselves. Being too connected can have a negative effect on our lives and the society as a whole. Here are 9 true illustrations that show how our society is negatively impacted because of the use of technology.

1. Facebook is eating away at your time.

Facebook is eating away your time

    How much time do you usually spend each day on Facebook or other social networking sites? Is it hindering your productivity? Do you find yourself wasting time to a point where you don’t even know where it goes? If the answer is yes, Facebook might have eaten away at your time.


    2. We’ve become “Likeaholics.”


      When you are posting something on Facebook, are you doing it just to see how many of your friends will give it the proverbial thumbs up? This illustration shows that some people are treating “Likes” on Facebook as if it was a drug they needed to inject into their bloodstreams.

      3. Our electronics have priority over our lives.


        Given a choice between your dying phone battery or you dying, which will you choose? In this case, the man in this illustration chose to charge his phone over to sustain his own life. As a society, we need to be more careful of our priorities.


        4. Families aren’t spending quality time together.

        mother baking

          Here is a mother making holiday cookies, but what are the kids doing? They are not making cookies with their mother. Instead, every one of them has their faces buried in their own electronic devices. Television used to be what parents use to babysit their kids. Now, it’s a tablet, phone, laptop or video game that does the job.

          5.  We’d rather record someone than help them.


            A lot is happening in this illustration. A black man is drowning and asking for help. One person has a gun pointed at him. The other person has their iPhone pointed at him and is recording the scene, but is not interested to help this man.


            6. Society is sleeping, it’s sleeping its life away.

            sleeping your life away

              Time is money. After we have wasted the long period of time on social media, we are losing the most valuable currency we have – our time in this world.

              7.  Despite all the technology we have, we still want what someone else has.

              wanting what someone else is having

                There’s an old saying that goes, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” This illustration shows that despite all that we have, we are still not satisfied with our lives.


                8. Sensationalism still sells.

                free expression

                  With the information overload that exists today, the media still looks for sensationalism. Here’s a woman who feels she has something important to say, but the media only cares about her because she is naked. Would the news media still have microphones in front of her if she wasn’t standing there topless?

                  9. In the end, with all of this, we are still killing the planet.

                  gun to mother earth

                    This last illustration argues that despite all of our technological gains, we are still polluting the earth as if we have a virtual gun pointed at Mother Nature. As we build bigger cities and higher technology, how much more damages can we continue to do before putting our lives at risk?


                    Featured photo credit: Jens Johnsson via

                    Read Next