With its combination large populations, economic growth and high educational outcomes Asia dominates the top ranks with China,Korea, Malaysia, India, Thailand and Indonesia scoring in the top ten slots across the 49 countries included in the GEI.This year Thailand and Indonesia moved higher in the pecking order, surpassing Vietnam. The balance is represented by leaders in Emerging Europe—Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary—and Qatar and UAE, each with strong fundamentals and higher developed investment environments for transnational education. Estonia and Russia follow in top 15 countries.Countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Columbia placed close to the bottom of the scoring scale.
The Americas were led by Mexico (18) and Chile (20), and further down the list, Brazil (29) and Argentina(25). The contrast between Mexico and Brazil is instructive: each with large populations but a different set of education profiles and increasingly divergent economic paths in light of Brazil’s deepening recession. Separately, Chile has emergedas a relatively strong investment case within the Americas, surpassing Argentina and gaining ground this year.Peru (35) and Colombia (44) rank in the middle of the GEI. On a global basis, nearly all countries from the Americas fell in relative ranking from 2016 levels, the most dramatic of which being Colombia.
Asia led the GEI rankings from China (1), Korea (2), Malaysia(3), India(5), Thailand (8)and and Indonesia (10)—with Vietnam (13) losing some ground—while other regional participants further down the pecking order such as the Philippines (21), Sri Lanka (33), Pakistan (38) and Bangladesh (43) all rose within the GEI. It should be noted that these four countries have one thing in common: youthful populations and increasing pressure on employment, but also an opportunity to move ahead if productivity and education intensity rises.
Africa, Europe and Middle East (EMEAF)
Africa. With the exception of South Africa (30), which gained 5 places in the GEI ranking this year, African countries scored at the lowest levels across economic inclusion and education attainment measures and thus were largely at the bottom of the rankings. This includes leading regional countries such as Nigeria (45), Ghana (47) and Kenya (48), a fact that becomes urgent considering that Nigeria and Kenya have among the highest percentage of youthsunder-14 years of age in their populations. Experienced observers of Africa should not be surprised by these results: a combination of poor performance in productivity, insufficient education access, and operating environments plagued by governance issues has marred sustainable,value-added growth opportunities across the continent, despite some success with private education and training investment. Northern Africa, represented by Egypt (37), scored higher than most of African counterparts but still remained in the bottom quartile of the rankings. However both countries have more developed educational systems and the potential for gains in the years ahead.
Emerging Europe. In many respects Emerging Europe is a different comparative class to other countries in the GEI despite their inclusion as Emerging Market representatives. Several countries have small populations, strong educational achievement, an advanced EU-formulated operating environment, and highly productive economies. Yet rankings differ widely. Notably:Turkey(17) ranks lower this year next to Czech Republic (7) and Estonia(11), while Russia (14)gained slightly.Southern European countries such as Greece (19)remained flat while Romania(22) and Bulgaria (16), in particularly, gained in the rankings.
Middle East. Apart from the unique profile of Gulf countries UAE (4) and Qatar (12) mentioned previously,and to a lesser extent Bahrain (28),Middle East countries such as Jordan (36) and Oman (43) continue to face more acute economic challenges and generally lagged in terms of educational outcomes and productivity. Figure 4provides a summary of rankings and scoring for the clustered regions of Asia, the Americas and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEAF).
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