South Korea has the best public education system in the world, as of 2014, according to the international education company Pearson. The South Korean education system improved dramatically over the latter half of the 20th century, and the central component in that success is the country's focus on academic quality and rigor.
As a nation, South Korea has a literacy rate of 100 percent, an extremely rare feat that helps to set this country apart from others. South Korean students are known for being extremely hard working, though there is a massive amount of pressure to succeed that helps to drive this work ethic.
This ranking also includes Japan, Singapore, China and Finland in the top five best school systems on the planet, and some of these countries have different educational philosophies. In Finland, students are more social than in most other places. This doesn't mean that kids go to school to hang out and talk; Finnish students work hard and are expected to perform well, but these schools also tend to take a more holistic look at student performance rather than just focusing on academic accomplishments.