Five countries in Asia have come out on top in the biggest ever global school ranking, with Australia absent from the top ten.
Singapore and Hong Kong took first and second place respectively in the comparison based on test scores in math and science from 15-year-olds in 76 nations.
Students in South Korea ranked third overall, while Japanese and Taiwanese students of the same age tied fourth in the rankings released on Wednesday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
“This is the first time we have a truly global scale of the quality of education,” OECD education director Andreas Schleicher told the BBC.
He wasn’t surprised that students in Asia topped the class.
“If you go to an Asian classroom you’ll find teachers who expect every student to succeed. There’s a lot of rigour, a lot of focus and coherence,” Mr Schleicher said.
Australia ranked 14th behind much poorer nations Estonia, Poland and Vietnam on maths and science knowledge, with close neighbour New Zealand even further behind in 17th.
African nations received the poorest results, with South Africa and Ghana ranked lowest of the 76 surveyed.
The rankings were compiled based on research conducted by the OECD, academics in the US and tests run in Latin America.
Top thirty nations based on math and science scores:
|4||Japan and Taiwan|
|28||United States of America (USA) and Italy|