Business Irish

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Ireland's college-going numbers among the best in Europe

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Michael Cogley

Ireland is among the top in the European class for numbers who've gone on to third level education.

According to new figures from Eurostat, Ireland is behind only Luxembourg and Norway in the percentage of people aged between 25 and 54 who have a third level education.

The report shows that 45pc of Irish people in that age group have what is considered a high education. Levels of education are compared on a consistent standard under the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED).

The high bracket of education in the survey represents anyone who has a university certificate or diploma or higher.

Meanwhile, the medium bracket represents anywhere between completing transition year and a FÁS competency development programme.

Ireland's third level education rate has increased substantially when compared with the older demographic that was documented.

The Eurostat figures revealed that while in the younger group 45pc have third level/college or higher, in the 55 to 74-year-old group just 21.6pc of people have higher education.

Ireland's education rates contrast significantly to the likes of Germany which has much higher middle-education rates.

Germany's medium education rate stands at 59.7pc of the 25 to 54-year-old demographic, which is 20.9 percentage points higher than that of Ireland.

Countries like Croatia and Slovakia also boasted very high medium education rates, both of whom had lower rates of low education than Ireland.

The UK's third level education rate for 25 to 54-years-old is 42.6pc, 2.4 percentage points lower than Ireland's.

In terms of 25 to 54-year- olds Ireland is behind only Luxembourg and Norway for third level education and is 13.3 percentage points higher than the EU28 average. In terms of the younger age group, being 20 to 24 years of age, Ireland compares well to the EU average. Overall, 92.6pc of Irish people in the age group have at least completed higher secondary level education.

In the 20 to 24 age group females remain higher than males when it comes to completion of secondary level education with 94pc of females completing it, compared to 91.2pc of men.

The trend is evident across Europe, and not just Ireland.

The average completion of secondary level education for females across the EU is 84.7pc which compares to the male rate of 79.8.

Only Croatia has a higher completion rate of second level education for those aged between 20 and 24.

Croatia's completion rate stands at 96.3pc, 3.7 percentage points higher than Ireland's.

Closer to home the UK falls behind Ireland in terms of second level completion in the demographic.

The UK is significantly lower with its completion rate standing at 84.1pc.

In the 30 to 34-year-old segment Ireland continues to perform strongly with a third level education rate of over 50pc.

Ireland is joined by only Lithuania, Cyprus and Luxembourg to boast a rate of over 50pc.

What's clear across the figures released by Eurostat is that Ireland's participation rate has grown very strongly through the generations, and this is seen particularly in the 20 to 24-year-old group.

Irish Independent

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