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OECD “Education at a Glance”

Today’s publication of the OECD “Education at a Glance” surveys educational expenditure and achievement across the 27 countries that participated. Ireland has made some modest gains on previous surveys but there is much that remains of concern.

Commenting on the survey, ETBI General Secretary Michael Moriarty says:

Outcomes achieved in the classroom reflect well when compared internationally. The percentage of 93% for school completion at second level is greater than the EU average of 84%. While expenditure in Ireland per student is the third highest of countries surveyed, the percentage of GDP spend at 6.2% places Ireland 18th of the 27 countries surveyed. The Irish pupil-teacher ratio is higher than the OECD average.

This shows that the dedication and commitment of our teaching force have managed to maintain standards of educational achievement despite significant cuts in resources. The fear is that continuing educational cuts since 2011 could in future undermine what has been achieved.

The proportion of young people in Ireland who are unemployed and not engaged in education and training is a concern. The proportion in Ireland is significantly greater than the EU and OECD average. This could well reflect the current restrictions in the number of places in training centres and PLC colleges.

If young people’s life chances are not to be damaged, there needs to be a significant expansion of the availability of training opportunities and the lifting of the “cap” on PLC places. Subject to resources, ETBI and member ETBs, with SOLAS, will collaborate to provide more training opportunities for young people, which can go some way towards reducing the numbers of those who are currently employed and not in training.

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