2022 Best-Educated Country Projections are here. Some may surprise you.

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2022 Best-Educated Country Projections are here. Some may surprise you.

NJ MED has released their 2022 best education systems projections, and while some of the predictions will come as no surprise (South Korea is the projected favorite), there are plenty of intriguing projections and some significant surprises.

NJ MED used this year’s on-time school openings to determine probable outcomes based on each country last year’s performance in remote learning and their government response to reinvesting in school infrastructure. If countries have a 50 percent increase in offsite learning, it has prepared to keep their students up-to-date with the current learning conditions, and if a country has only a 10% increase in their offsite learning platforms chance of students staying up to date is lessen.

Here are ten interesting facts about this year’s rankings.

South Korea is projected to be the favorite

South Korea is leading the pack in terms of e-learning improvements among Asian countries, thanks to the country’s strong and rising high-tech economy and extensive high-speed internet access. It intends to use its resources to teach students not only in Korea but also in other nations across the world, by expanding English courses and promoting its ability to give “smart learning.”

France ranks second. During the Covid-19 pandemic in France, the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports supplied several materials to teachers to help them establish educational continuity. Online tools, instructional platforms, and self-training guidelines for teachers are all included. The main distance learning platform is “Ma classe à la maison,” which was created by the Centre National d’Enseignment à Distance (CNED – National Centre for Distance Learning) and is available to all teachers and students free of charge. This platform enables virtual classes to be tailored to any level of schooling.

The United States ranks third. With hundreds of online colleges and thousands of online courses available to students, the United States is the clear global leader in online education today. Of course, the United States isn’t merely the most populous country on the planet. It has also served as a paradigm for the development of internet delivery systems. Even more influential are open educational programs in the United States, such as those offered at MIT, which have served as an example.

Japan is ranked fourth. Since the coronavirus outbreak became a national subject in Japan, the government and other public institutions have encouraged people to work from home as much as possible. The recent evolution of internet technologies—such as the emergence of The Cloud or remote meeting software—, the prevalence of computer, tablet, or phone-equipped households, and a new generation of kids who are tech-savvy from an early age are forming a set of conditions that could allow distance learning to succeed.

Denmark ranked fifth. As the COVID-19 epidemic spread across the globe, most governments took the precaution of closing schools to try to stop the virus from spreading further. In Denmark, each week of school closures represents around 30 hours of face-to-face compulsory instruction time at school (lower secondary school – general orientation), or 2.5 percent of the total time spent in school. The capacity of schools to innovate, adapt and support staff varies from country to country and school to school. Yet it is these school capacities that can prove to be valuable assets for responding to crises and uncertain times, as well as building resilience when facing challenges in delivering instruction.

Australia ranked sixth. Distance education has become a more popular alternative for Australians, with a growth rate of about 20% and a market value of US$4.68 billion predicted this year.

The international market for online programs headquartered in Australia that teach students from Asia is forecast to rise to millions of students over the next ten years, making Australia one of the world’s major providers of online education if it comes to fruition.

The Netherlands ranked seventh. The Netherlands has taken the route of establishing primary schools while keeping older pupils in distance learning environments. By reintroducing elementary school kids to the classrooms while national infection rates fell.

The United Kingdom ranked eighth. The government advocated a £100 million investment in online education to help the country grow its brand, develop superior online educational materials, and become a key worldwide player in the distance learning sector.

The financing idea is in reaction to rising tuition costs in the United Kingdom, which were once subsidized by the government but are now deterring students from pursuing higher education.

Sweden ranks ninth. Sweden has a unique approach to school closures, and the overwhelming sense is that the transition to distant learning has gone smoothly so far. Schools have worked hard to solve digital problems and ensure that students have access to online resources. Even before the start of the epidemic, many schools were already using digital platforms and tools. A smooth transition to distant learning was made possible by the utilization of existing digital resources and instructional practices.

Germany ranks tenth. Germany has a reputation for being behind the times when it comes to digitalization. Students are currently experiencing technical difficulties as schools remain closed. Even countries with a better track record, however, are experiencing difficulties with distant learning.

Following the coronavirus epidemic in July 2020, an existing school digitization plan was accelerated, bringing the combined state and federal efforts to almost 7 billion euros ($8.6 billion).

Finland ranks eleventh. Even in the age of technology-driven educational offerings, Finns are passionate about face-to-face education. They’ve made significant investments in new or renovated twenty-first-century superschools, which provide excellent and well-resourced teaching and learning spaces that allow face-to-face and digital interactions between instructors and students. The school is no longer just a place to teach and learn subjects; it is also a phenomenon where the entire learning experience and children’s growth occur, thanks to a serendipitous policy mix of national, local, and school decisions. They put a lot of work into ensuring that the children feel comfortable in a pleasant environment where students and teachers interact.

Canada ranks twelve. The Canadian Department of Education took advantage of the situation by confirming that online learning would continue during the pandemic. The priority would be to keep schools open for in-person learning, but according to a Ministry of Education document, plans are in the works to allow parents to enroll their children in “full-time synchronous remote learning” starting in September 2021. Students would have access to a greater range of courses through online learning, which would assure continuity, prevent learning loss, and give students a wider range of options.

Ireland ranks thirteen. According to international research, Ireland’s schools have substantial digital infrastructure gaps when compared to other industrialized countries, which has become especially crucial during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Students in Irish schools were also more likely than students in other nations to attend schools with poor physical infrastructure, such as buildings, grounds, heating, lighting, and acoustics, which had an impact on teaching quality.

Belgium ranks fourth teen. As the COVID-19 epidemic spread across the globe, most governments took the precaution of closing schools to try to stop the virus from spreading further. Schools were required to replace this time in class with online learning and homeschooling, with teachers and parents assisting in most cases to assess how prepared students were. Teachers, students, and schools gathered in Belgium to confront the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the goal to prevent the spread of the disease. Therefore, using future policy solutions to the problem influences and guides the use of remote learning.

Switzerland ranks fifteen. Given the presence of the coronavirus in Switzerland, distance learning may be something that parents, instructors, and students will have to get used to.

Parents indicate that their children are doing their assigned tasks, but that there are some difficulties. Primary school students have been receiving worksheets in the mail or picking them up at school (at staggered, allotted times to avoid other pupils). Some students are already making use of current internet resources. Kindergarten students are given “homework” in the form of regular assignments such as counting or learning songs. Teachers communicate with one another via WhatsApp, email, and phone.

Norway ranks sixth teen. The COVID-19 epidemic has posed significant obstacles to the world’s education system. To slow the spread of the virus and prevent infections, most countries temporarily closed educational facilities. The physical shutdown of schools and university colleges in Norway on March 12, 2020, has hastened the transition to online teaching and learning methods. In comparison to traditional educator-centered pedagogies, active, student-centered learning practices are more effective. Because student-active learning (such as using student response systems and flipping the classroom) increases motivation and improves learning outcomes, the decision to increase the use of active student-centered learning methods and digitalization had already been made at both the governmental and institutional levels at the time of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Slovenia ranks seventeen. Distance education was launched in Slovenia as a reaction to the Covid-19 outbreak in March 2020, and students found it more challenging than classroom instruction, but also more intriguing and innovative. They loved not having to perform in front of their classmates and being able to plan work during the day. Moreover, a third of pupils said it was simpler to study this way. The lack of social contact with classmates and teachers, as well as the lack of teacher explanation, were the bad features. Some children had trouble utilizing a computer, and about 20% of them had to share one with family members.

Singapore ranks eighteen. As the worldwide pandemic’s aftershocks continue to reverberate, K-12 students, parents, and teachers in Singapore are coming to terms with the fact that hybrid learning is here to stay. With the prospect of returning to full-time brick-and-mortar classes looming, Singapore schools took a bold and internationally lauded step to address mental health head-on by implementing classroom therapy sessions in which students (and teachers) were encouraged to share their experiences and concerns about lockdown and isolation.

China ranks nineteen. China has a long history of distance education, dating back to the 1960s with courses given via radio and television, but it is quickly becoming a pioneer in online education.

In China, however, issues with internet connectivity in rural regions and the growth of diploma mills have hampered progress. The country has experienced significant expansion, thanks in part to a rise in demand for highly skilled members of the global labor from China. The online learning business is predicted to grow by leaps and bounds in the next years, and it has been steadily growing since 2006, indicating that it is on track to exceed all projections.

Latvia ranks twenty. Because of COVID 19, online learning has been implemented in Latvia for a longer period than in other European nations, raising worries about the mental health of children, particularly teenagers. Several national and local support programs have been created to help teachers prevent burnout. To ameliorate the situation in schools, the Minister of Education says that by the end of the year, support for instructors, as well as self-help courses for students, parents, and teachers, will be in place.

Unlike other years, the 2021/2022 school year will see a lot of moving parts. Which nations are best prepared for those changes will dictate whose education systems are the most successful.

How to Develop a solid hybrid learning strategy

According to the 2021 UNESCO COVID Response Toolkit, successful, meaningful hybrid learning involves a three-step methodology supported by continuous monitoring and adjustment:

  1. Understand and Envision: Assess students’ needs and capacities
  2. Decide and Design: Determine the hybrid learning model
  3. Enable and Execute: Operationalize the hybrid learning method for each grade level.

Educators are being encouraged to look both inside and outside the box: According to UNESCO, a successful hybrid education plan is based on a what, when, who, and how to approach. Choosing which educational activities and subjects should be prioritized for in-person or remote learning, organizing a shift system to determine when in-person or remote learning should occur, defining who supports in-person or remote learning by allocating teachers (and parents) shifts and tasks, and determining how we can strengthen hybrid learning capacity.