5 countries with the world's toughest education systems

South Korea: Renowned for its intense focus on academics and high-pressure environment, South Korea boasts some of the highest scores in international assessments like PISA and TIMSS.

Japan: Similar to South Korea, Japan emphasizes academic achievement and standardized testing. Students attend long school days and face demanding entrance exams for higher education. 

Singapore: Known for its meritocratic approach, Singapore's education system emphasizes academic excellence and competition. Students face rigorous testing and streaming, with high expectations for top performance. 

Finland: While often lauded for its innovative and student-centered approach, Finland also has demanding aspects. Students have a high number of school hours and standardized tests, and the system emphasizes critical thinking and problem-solving skills. 

Netherlands: The Dutch education system is known for its emphasis on independent learning and critical thinking. Students have a lot of freedom and responsibility in their studies, which can be challenging for some.