World Cup 2018: School report card on Group G countries Belgium, England, Panama and Tunisia

Vincent Kompany World Cup
Manchester City and Belgian international footballer Vincent Kompany has been an SOS Children’s Villages celebrity supporter since 2006 (SOS Children’s Villages )

Every day during the opening week of the World Cup in Russia, we're looking at the education situation in each of the countries taking part. Today it's Group G.

Every four years, the eyes of the world are focused for a month on the football World Cup. 

It’s a chance for people to see games featuring countries they may not know much about. Here we look at some of the education facts and stats from the four countries competing in Group G.


Education system: compulsory for 12 years from age 6-17.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 3-5): 99%.

Primary school completion: 88%.

Student-teacher ratio: 11 in primary, 9 in secondary.

ISSUES AND REFORMS: The education system ranks well above European Union and world averages. But only 26% of university graduates in science, mathematics and computing are women, compared with the OECD average of 40%.

STAR FACT: Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany – whose father was a political refugee from Zaire – is an ambassador for the charity SOS Children’s Villages that helps children who have lost parents. He also owns a community club in Brussels which works to keep children in deprived neighbourhoods out of trouble. 


Education system: compulsory for 11 years from age 5-15.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 3-4): 96%.

Primary school completion: 100%.

Student-teacher ratio: 17 in primary, 15 in secondary.

ISSUES AND REFORMS: Opponents, including many teachers, have criticised government plans to roll out the testing of four-year-olds in their first weeks at school. It will assess communication, language, literacy and mathematics skills.

STAR FACT: Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who scored both goals in the win over Tunisia, is a member of the England Footballers Foundation. Among the many groups it has supported is the Honeypot Children’s Charity, which supports vulnerable children and young carers.

Tunisia Students At A French Class In Sejnane

Tunisia students take a French class at Sogman primary school in Sejnane district (World Bank / Arne Hoel)


Education system: compulsory for 11 years from age 4-14.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 3-5): 50%.

Primary school completion: 86%.

Student-teacher ratio: 22 in primary, 13 in secondary.

Literacy rate for 15-24-year-olds: 98%.

ISSUES AND REFORMS: The education system ranked only 83rd in the world in 2015. Panama has committed to providing skills in schools that are better matched to the jobs market.

STAR FACT: The day after Panama qualified for their first ever World Cup finals, a national holiday was declared and all schools in the country were closed to allow children to celebrate.


Education system: compulsory for 9 years from age 6-14.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 3-5): 44%.

Primary school completion: 93%.

Student-teacher ratio: 16 in primary, 13 in secondary.

Literacy rate for 15-24-year-olds: 96%.

ISSUES AND REFORMS: Earlier this month, the World Bank announced it would support Tunisia in its efforts to promote the equality of education in primary schools and increase access to pre-primary education in disadvantaged areas.

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