Universitas 21, which is “an international network of 23 [sic] leading research-intensive universities in fifteen countries,” says:
Overall, the top five countries, nominally providing the ‘best’ higher education were found to be the United States, Sweden, Canada, Finland and Denmark. However, broken down into the smaller sections, it was interesting to see that the US, traditionally seen as a country with one of the strongest education systems, did not always hit the top spot. Government funding of higher education as a percentage of GDP is highest in Finland, Norway and Denmark. Taking private expenditure into account changed this significantly: on that measure funding is highest in the United States, South Korea, Canada and Chile, unsurprising, given the structure in these counties.
Some other interesting findings showed that investment in Research and Development is highest in Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. Unsurprisingly, the United States dominates the total output of research journal articles, but when viewed as a percentage of articles per head of population, Sweden is top of the ranking.
The highest participation rates in higher education are in South Korea, Finland, Greece, United States, Canada and Slovenia. The countries with the largest proportion of workers with a higher level education are Russia, Canada, Israel, United States, Ukraine, Taiwan and Australia. Finland, Denmark, Singapore, Norway and Japan have the highest ratio of researchers in the economy.
The BBC notes that the UK ranks second in more traditional league tables.