Education Systems around the World!

The last two sessions of our PFP class were related to considering education systems in different countries where at least there is one student has enrolled in this class from that country. There are students from Iran, Canada, Germany, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, India, Egypt, South Korea and China. Except the Latin America, there are at least one student from all other continents. Since my research is related to inequality of opportunity in education, these two classes were fascinating for me. All students from aforesaid countries described the education system in their countries except Lebanon. The similarities and differences among different educational systems are impressive.
In this blog post, I want to consider the information presented in class in another view. based on the per capita income of countries, we can divide these countries into two groups, developed countries and developing ones. from this perspective, South Korea, Canada and Germany are in developed countries and countries other these three countries are in developing countries.
Based on the data in hand from some international test scores like PISA ( Program of International Student Assessment) and TIMSS ( Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) the equality of opportunity among developed countries are much higher compared to developing countries. Especially most European countries and Japan have better conditions compared with the USA. On the other hand, equality of opportunity in education among developing countries are lower overall. The inequality of opportunity in education among students from Latin America are much larger compared with OECD countries. Ferreira and Gignoux (2008).
The pattern that I have already seen in data is repeated in the description of students too!
Students who came from developing or less developed countries have more inflexible education systems compared to developed countries. The closer education system and the importance of traditions in these countries as well as government intervention in different aspects of educational systems give less opportunity to students to choose their majors based on their interests. specially in primary education ( all education system before universities) there are asymmetric distributions of facilities among students in developing countries. For instance the Egyptian students said that although private tutoring is forbidden, most of graduate students do tutoring and as a result students who have access to tutoring have better opportunity to pass entrance exam and enter to public universities. This is one of the reason of inequality of opportunity in Egypt.
In Iran, China and other developing countries, students face with tougher systems. People cannot change their field of studies in graduate school or even in undergraduate. for instance in Iran, students choose their major in second year of high school and based on this choice they take national entrance exam for undergraduate studies. However I think students in Iran can change their majors or field of studies much easier than Chinese students.
On the other hand, students living in developed countries such as Germany, Canada and South Korea face with less restrictive education system and they can change their majors easily.
In most developing countries, higher education ( education after high school) support by government. These government intervention causes a bad effect on primary education. the financial burden of higher education causes government to have less money for primary education. As a result private schools play critical role in these countries and cause an unbalance in playing filed of primary education. In contrast with these countries, higher education in developing counties is private and people should pay for studying during college or graduate school and most of government fund go to primary education. As a result most of students in developed countries go to public school and the playing field during primary education is much more balanced. Therefore we have higher equality of opportunity in education during secondary and high school studying in these countries.

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