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What Country Has The Hardest Curriculum

Every country has its own unique educational system, each providing unique and varied levels of tuition and qualifications. It is no surprise then, that some countries have substantially higher educational standards than others, with some offering vastly more difficult curricular than others.

This article will look at which countries across the world have the most challenging education curricular, suggestions for parents looking for higher-level curricular, and some tips for different curriculum choices.

1. Overview of National Curriculum Differences

Every country has its own understanding of what level of knowledge and educational standards schools should provide to students. Some countries, such as the United States, have a broad range of curricular offerings, while other countries, like some European nations, have more defined and hard-set curricula directives.

Aligned with certain national philosophies, nation-wide core curriculum mandates, and religion-focused subject material, what is considered a “difficult” curriculum across a country can often vary greatly even within that same nation. This can thereby make it tough to calculate which country has the most difficult education curriculum. Despite this fact, by taking into account average test scores, standards required to pass and the rate at which students are expected to retain and grow their knowledge base, it becomes possible to draw certain conclusions about which country provides the most difficult education.

Through studies of international test scores, especially from world powers like the US and many countries within the European Union, trends have been noted that allow for an assessment of which educational systems provide the most challenging learning environments.

2. Countries with the Highest Education Standards and Scores

Unsurprisingly, some of the countries with the newest and most advanced educational systems, for example those of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries, often have the highest standards of education and consequently have the most difficult curricular. As ranked by the latest OECD survey, the countries at the top of the table, such as Finland, Singapore, Japan, Canada, and Australia, all have very tough curricular requirements, as well as higher than average test scores and educational attainment, giving them the higher end of this assessment.

What’s particularly impressive is Finland – while not the highest scorer in terms of average test scores, Finland’s curriculum is unique in that it focuses heavily on the application of skills and knowledge, rather than simply testing facts, which makes it particularly difficult to grasp. In France, the curriculum is also considered much tougher than the average. This can be attributed to the stringent national curriculum, which requires students to pass national tests in order to graduate.

However, this higher proficiency is often offset by slightly lower test scores than those countries that do not require national exams.

3. Curriculum Requirements Vary in North America

The educational system in the United States, meanwhile, is quite varied from state to state, in terms of curriculum and qualification requirements. As in Europe, some states have higher educational standards than others, with States like Massachusetts, California and New York having some of the most difficult curricular requirements for their students. As well as having tougher educational conditions and higher test scores, these states also tend to have higher-level graduation rates, which makes them an attractive option for any parent looking to give their kids the best possible education chance.

Canada, too, has a wide range of educational standard options, but since it is still a developing country, many of its educational offerings are still in the early stages of development. That said, as a student in Canada, you can expect to find difficult curriculum offerings in the sciences and math, which is one of the reasons why Canada’s average scores for math, science and reading are some of the highest in the world.

4. Latin America and Asia’s Difficult Curriculum

In Latin America, the curricular offered are becoming increasingly more difficult. Traditionally, the educational systems in these countries were not as advanced as those in North America or Europe, however, with large economic investments being made in recent years, the curricular being presented in Latin America has become increasingly more difficult. In Asia, educational curricula is also becoming more demanding.

With the Asian tiger economies becoming more prominent, the desire to become a more top tier educational power has led to more focus on the educational aspects of Asian countries. Consequently, the educational standards in Asian countries like Japan, China, and South Korea have become some of the toughest in the world.

5. How Parents Can Choose the Best Curriculum for Their Children

For parents looking for an especially difficult curriculum for their kids, the best option is to find an educational system that provides for higher level national curriculum tests and qualifications. As mentioned earlier, states like Massachusetts, California, and New York have these types of curriculums pre-built into their educational systems, while countries like Finland and France use their own unique process and grading system to ensure that their students are achieving their highest potential. For parents looking to home school, research into international curriculums is a must.

While there are many fantastic educational systems around the world, some are more difficult than others, and parents should take into account the difficultly level offered. Doing enough research should be able to yield the answers that parents are looking for.

6. Different Curriculums to Consider and Reap the Benefits

Finally, parents should consider which curriculum best achieves their goals and the type of educational experience they wish to offer their children. While traditional curriculums like the US Common Core or State-mandated curriculums are often considered the standard, the truth is that there are no shortage of other educational systems around the world. These include the UK’s National Curriculum, the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, and the German Abitur curriculums.

Each of these systems offers a slightly different educational experience, with different curriculum stipulations, assessments, and difficulty levels.


When it comes to identifying which country has the most difficult educational curriculum, there are a range of important factors to consider. It is impossible to identify one specific country with the toughest curriculum, however countries like Finland, France, and Japan all have some of the most challenging educational standards in the world. Parents can learn more about which country best suits their needs by researching international curricula and making informed decisions as to where to send their children.

No matter what curriculum they choose, they can be rest assured that they are giving their children the best chance of reaching their full potential.

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