Canada, the great white north is known for many things. It is famous as one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations and of course how can one forget Canada’s gorgeous and amazing prime minster Justin Trudeau. But now this scenic country can add one more thing in its list of achievement.
Canada has climbed into the top tier of international rankings in the world's top performing education systems. The countries which usually fly in these rankings are Asian powerhouses such as Singapore and South Korea or the Nordic countries such as Finland or Norway.
In the most recent round of international Pisa tests, Canada was one of a handful of countries to appear in the top 10 for math, science and reading. The tests, run by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), are a major study of educational performance and show Canada's teenagers as among the best educated in the world. They are far ahead of geographical neighbors such as the US and European countries with strong cultural ties like the UK and France.
At university level, Canada has the world's highest proportion of working-age adults who have been through higher education - 55% compared with an average in OECD countries of 35%. The top performers are often cohesive, compact societies and the current highest achiever, Singapore, has been seen as a model of systematic progress, with each part of the education system integrated into an overarching national strategy.
This can be attributed to equal chances and lesser social- economic gap. There have been systematic efforts to improve literacy, with well-trained staff, resources such as school libraries and testing and assessment to identify schools or individuals who are struggling. Rather than a country of extremes, Canada's results show a very high average, with relatively little difference between advantaged and disadvantaged students.
In the most recent Pisa results for science, the variation in scores in Canada caused by socio-economic differences was 9%, compared with 20% in France and 17% in Singapore. The equitable outcome goes a long way to explaining why Canada is doing so well in international tests. It does not have a tail of underachievement, often related to poverty.
Furthermore Canadian universities are reaping the benefits of the Trump effect, with record levels of applications from overseas students seeing Canada as a North American alternative to the United States. There has also been a Canadian winner of the Global Teacher Prize, with Maggie MacDonnell using the award to campaign for indigenous students.
2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Canada, and now it can celebrate the status of an education superpower.