I have collected this information from several disconnected sources and established the table. It does not show all nations, and the numbers are also not 100% accurate. For instance, some countries, like Belgium and Germany, have different states that actually have numbers that vary slightly up or down.
I have tried to be as accurate as possible and include all of the more influential nations today.
Look at the chart and correlate where children spend a lot of time in school and where the nation has a lot of influence.
Japan was the Wunderkind of the 1980 and 1990ies and it transformed the world in technology, computer and automobile output. Toyota, Sony, Honda, Mitsubishi.
Germany is the financing arm of Europe today. Airbus, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Zeiss, SAP.
China – just about everything manufactured in the world, and 80% of what is sold at Wal-Mart, is made in China. Need I say more?
The United States are toward the bottom of the list. If the United States wants to hold on to its edge in the world it needs to fund education more seriously. It needs to send its kids to school more days. This starts with early education and preschool. It goes through K-12 and on with universities. Right now, many other countries are gaining an edge over the United States simply by expending more effort on education of all categories. The United States still has the world’s most desired universities. In the past decades, students came to the United States to study, and often they stayed. More and more, they go home after they are done, to India, to China, to Russia and all other countries.
This edge in university education will not last forever. There are, right now, 360 colleges under construction in China. I believe that in another 20 years, students from all over the world will go to China for an education, because that’s where the opportunities will be. That’s where unfettered access to information will sponsor science without shackles. Scientists that want to learn about cloning, genetics and other research dependent on simple things like stem cells will have to go to China.
Education, not oil pipelines, not birth control restrictions, not the stock market, not capitalism, holds our future. The education of our children will either save this nation’s glory, or it will destroy it.
Unfortunately, education is like a 30-year-mortgage. It takes an entire generation of investing and paying before the debt is paid off and the investment comes to fruition. I am old enough that I will not see the result. Will America pull out of it? Or will we be an intellectual and financial debtor nation to China?
Many readers have commented that mere attendance in school does not necessarily make a good education, but it’s rather just extended babysitting. Quality of education is much more important than quantity, I am sure. Furthermore, the length of the school day also matters, so a chart of HOURS in school, rather than days, would be helpful. I agree with all those comments. It is not my intent here to argue what a good education is in general. There are many more qualified people to do that than I. I simply collected a chart – how many days are kids going to school. Then I argue that education is important, no matter what defines “good,” as a critical factor of success of a country.