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Which Country Has The Hardest Education

Education systems around the world vary in their level of difficulty and the standards they require to get accepted. What is deemed too difficult for some, may be too easy for others, and vice versa. There is no single, definitive answer to this question as individual countries have traditionally ‘pitched their tents’ at different levels of difficulty.

Nevertheless, various reports and surveys carried out on the quality of education all over the world have pointed towards certain countries, who show higher than the rest when it comes to standards and demands of government-funded learning. In this article, we will look at some of these countries and analyze the reasoning behind their education systems’ difficulty, in brief.


Considered by many to be one of the world’s hardest education systems, China’s approach to education is geared towards rote learning and memorization. China openly claims to have the longest school day amongst all countries, and students in both public and private Chinese schools are subjected to long hours of studying.

Cooperation between parents, schools, and teachers and the introduction of additional tuition and extra classes are required for students to keep up with their peers and stay ahead of the competition. In some of the cities with higher education desires, students spend roughly three times more in just additional tuition after school hours than their Western counterparts. In addition, the curriculum of Chinese schools involve a significant amount of memorizing and rote learning rather than self-discovery and analytical thinking.

This emphasis placed on memorization causes students to become more stressed, leading to additional academic pressure and competition.


Singapore makes its second appearance in educational standings due to its strong emphasis on dedication and hard work among its students. This Asian country runs a ‘mastery learning’ system in its schools that prop they all students alike to excel to their fullest potential in all their given subjects. This requires all students to participate in extra classes or tuition, gruelling test sessions, and a relentless focus on enhancing their understanding in their chosen field.

Unlike students in China and other countries, the students in Singapore are taught to reach beyond their potential capabilities in order to succeed. The teachers employ a multi-disciplinary approach that emphasizes having a sharp and focused approach to learning, and an eye for dissecting problems.

Rather than dedicating their time and mental energy for hours of rote-learning, Singaporean students are expected to think critically and take matters into their own hands.


Japan’s educational system is the most rigorous of all, with the highest scores in the PISA test scores. In Japan, the concept of rote-learning isn’t different from that of China.

Japan follows its own system of teaching, which is heavily influenced by the traditional tutelage of master-and-apprentice relationships. The acquisition and deepening of knowledge is highly valued in the Japanese education system. This requires that students take on an immense number of classes and long periods of intense learning and practice.

As such, Japanese students are accustomed to long hours of studying and questioning. The Japanese system aims to instill in students a strong understanding and appreciation of their chosen fields of study, rather than just answering the questions thrown at them. Through the use of their unique approach, they are able to ensure their students remain knowledgeable even after they leave school.


The factors considered above when attempting to answer the question of ‘which country has the hardest education system?’ point towards a clear consensus. That is, regardless of the approach one might take, certain countries are still ahead in the rat race for having the most difficult education systems.

These countries include China, Singapore, and Japan, as we have seen throughout this article. Each of these countries offers a unique approach to teaching and cultivating knowledge in its students, partly due to its cultural influences and traditions.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that these countries need not necessarily possess the ‘hardest’ of education systems. As discussed earlier, the difficulty of an educational system can vary from person to person.

Nevertheless, these countries have become a prime example of what a ‘hard’ education system might look like.

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