Primary spending is bottom of the class
Ireland spends less money on its primary school and third level college students than other OECD countries.
The most up-to-date figures are for 2014 when the State spent €6,464 annually on a primary school pupil, compared with an OECD average of €7,233. At third level, State spending was €8,597 compared with an OECD average of €10,619.
The report notes that spending on third level in Ireland and some other countries still lags behind peak spending in 2008.
Only second level schools attracted State spending that was comparable: ranging from €8,126-€8,314 in Ireland to €8,181-€8,535 across the OECD. The report mentions Ireland as one country where educational expenditure had been severely hit at the beginning of the financial crisis between 2005 and 2010. It was hit again from 2010 to 2014 when there was a 12pc cut in educational expenditure.
Seven years ago, public and private spending on education amounted to 5.9pc of GDP which was above the OECD average of 5.3pc and the European Union average of 4.7. By 2014, it had dropped to 4.8pc which was the same as the European average but below the 5.2pc OECD average.
The Department of Education and Skills insisted last night that GDP figures gave a misleading impression because our GDP was inflated by a number of factors, primarily the repatriation of profits by multinationals. "A more meaningful indicator of Ireland's actual position is to present the spend on education as a percentage of total public expenditure. The percentage of total public spend on education in Ireland is 13pc, which is higher than the OECD country average of 11.3pc," added a spokesperson.