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The Education Olympics [Infographic]

Posted on July 24th, 2012 in Education, General Interest | 11 Comments »

The Olympics are held every four years and test the skills, training and dedication of athletes from all over the world. The winners return home not only with gold medals, but the pride of representing the best of their nations on the international stage. With such high stakes, it’s no wonder that the Olympics are a global media spectacle, with billions of dollars and countless hours invested the world round in the hopes of success.

We here at Certification Map hoped to borrow some of this sheen and direct the spotlight to another realm of international competition: education. It’s in schools that each nation also invests its wealth, time, energy and, most importantly, its youth. So how do the winningest Olympic nations fare when it comes graduation rates, class sizes and teacher salaries? Do the countries with the greatest athletes also produce the smartest students? Whose schools will ultimately bring home the gold?

-Although the Soviet Union ranks second in terms of most gold medals won at the Olympics, it was not included on this graphic due to its dissolution in 1991.
-Global mathematics and science rankings were taken from the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment, which used the Chinese city of Shanghai as a proxy for the nation.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/linda.c.lujan.3 Linda Czarnomski Lujan

    It should be noted how they figure average class size.  In the US the number of teachers used in the formulas includes art teachers, music teachers, P.E. teachers, librarians, media teachers, academic specialists (not in classroom), special education teachers, and quasi-administrators.  This means that actual numbers are frequently much higher.  It would be interesting to see if other countries did the same. 

  • Anonymous

    This is a great infographic… promotes issues in the education system and presents the topic of education in a beautiful manner.


    Mike Byster
    Inventor of Brainetics (www.brainetics.com), Author of Genius, Educational Speaker, Mathematician

  • mchn

    12k in Hungary as a starting teacher salary? I wish. It’s around 5,5k.

  • Anon

    How does this infographic not have South Korea?  From other world rankings I’ve seen on the news, they come in at least in the top three in most categories including math and science.  I think their omission was a big mistake.  On top of that, they were in fourth place for Olympic medals..

  • a skeptic.

     noting that this is not this year’s medals…it seems to be over all of the olympics, south korea is not in the rankings based on the data set.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548830131 Prassanna Ganesh R

     Doesn’t that come in the denominator, which means that the average class size should reduce? If that’s the case, then the ‘real’ average class size in the US would be higher than the figure shown above

  • Lol

    I doubt that this is accurate, at least not in all points. Honestly I dont think that the british school system is amazing at all, nor does it beat the german one and japanese one for a matter of fact. I think these are just made up numbers for most of the part and as always people are trying to make some kind of school system seem superior compared to another. On personal experience I can comfortably say that you can see the quality of education by socializing with average people that have finished high school at the most. Honestly I’ve found people from Germany or Japan to be far more educated and aware of things around them than people from England as an example.

  • Lolwut

    Nice propaganda. The author clearly just averages *all* finishes among this group that is arbitrarily limited to 10 and measured along arbitrary axes. That gives GBR a narrow “win” (and may be a meaningful measure), but doesn’t keep with the medaling theme. If we’re going to play the “Olympics”, medals should be all that counts, right? Some counts below.

    Total medals:
    4: Japan
    3: GBR, USA, Australia
    2: Germany, Italy, China
    1: France, Sweden

    2: Germany, China
    1: Japan, Italy, Sweden
    3: Japan
    2: USA
    1: GBR, France

    3: Australia
    2: GBR
    1: Italy, USA

    Average place:
    GBR: 4
    Japan: 4.14
    Germany: 4.29
    Australia: 4.71
    USA: 5
    France: 5.86
    Sweden: 6.29
    Italy: 6.43
    Hungary: 7
    China: 7.29

  • NF

    What about out of classroom experiences? Does that have a place in the education system? If we look simply at math/science scores, I don’t think that tells the full picture of a child’s education.

  • Brenda

    Numbers don’t seem entirely accurate, but in case it will make for great discussion in my ESL class. Thanks!

  • Devon

    Wow, thank you for that (sarcasm). As a graduate of the British school system I can say that it is excellent. I do not know how excellent as compared to many of these countries, but please do not ridicule it!