A+ for Canada education?
When the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released its annual education comparison report on Sept. 11, the top countries were quick to boast about their good ratings. The OECD rated all 34 of its member countries plus eight other emerging markets, using a number of different education related statistics from their 2010 databases.
On Sept. 21, 24/7 Wall St. stated that based on the OECD findings, it “identified the 10 countries with the highest proportion of adults with a college degree” and awarded Canada the number one place on its list. It seems though, that the author of this article did not do his or her due diligence. This top 10 list deceitfully omits one very important fact: it is actually Russia, and not Canada, which has the highest percentage of post-secondary educated citizens from ages 25 to 64, as recorded in the OECD report.
Russia tops the ratings with a solid 54 per cent of its citizens having a post-secondary education, followed closely by Canada with 51 per cent, and the USA taking up the fourth position with 42 per cent. It is unfortunate that a professional publication like 24/7 Wall St. mislead readers by omitting the fact that Russia tops Canada by three percent.
Now that the truth of Russia having the highest amount of tertiary educated adults has been exposed, one has to wonder what this actually means. Having an excess of post-secondary graduates means nothing if the quality of the education is below standard. The OECD does not take into consideration the quality of the education received, but studies like T.H.E. (Times Higher Education) World University Rankings exist to rank the best overall universities around the world.
Of the top 20 schools rated by T.H.E in 2011-2012, the USA and the UK completely dominate, with Switzerland and Canada respectively adding one university to the mix. The University of Toronto squeezes in as number 19 on the list. Russian universities on the other hand, rank much lower. The first Russian university to appear in the rankings is Lomonosov Moscow State University and does so at just under the 300th marker.
So before Canadians get all high and mighty because of our overabundance of educated adults, we need to remember that we are actually ranked number two in the world. We must also concede to the reality that we take a back seat to rankings number four and seven, because even though more of us have an education than in the US or UK, their opportunities for top notch learning trump ours significantly. A lesson to take from all this – do your research before you believe what you read.