The World Economic Forum (WEF) released its 2016-2017 Global Competitiveness Report, and while the United States ranked 3rd among the 138 economies surveyed overall, on education, its competitiveness lagged behind.
On the indicator of higher education, the US ranked 8th, while it ranked 39th for health and primary education competitiveness.
The report further breaks apart the components of the health and primary education indicator, ranking the US 46th for primary education and notes that the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD) country average beat the US in health and primary education.
Donald Trump often touts the fact that the US trails other countries in rankings of primary education.
"You have Norway, Sweden, Denmark, China, you have lots of places. You have some countries you’ve never even heard of are ahead of the USA," he said at a rally in February, before vowing to improve American education.
Below is the top 5 ranked countries, in terms of primary education, in the WEF report:Finland Belgium Singapore Netherlands New Zealand
In higher education, however, the US performed better, ranking 8th. A low number within the top 10 is still a bit surprising as US colleges and universities are known for their strength. For example, on the Center for World University Rankings the top top 1,000 universities in the world, 224 are in the US, 90 are in China, 74 are in Japan, and 65 are in the United Kingdom.
Below is the top 5 ranked countries, in terms of higher education, in the WEF report:Singapore Finland Netherlands Switzerland Belgium
The ranking included measures of secondary (high school) and tertiary (college and beyond) enrollment rates, quality of education system, and quality of math and science education.
Along with quantitative statistics, the report utilized qualitative measures from an executive opinion survey where comparable statistical data was not available.