Thursday 24 May 2018

Ireland 'spending less on education than international average'

Stock photo: Depositphotos
Stock photo: Depositphotos
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Ireland is spending less on education than the international average, according to a new report.

While Ireland invests €8,967 a year in each student, across  primary to third-level, the average in more than 30 other countries is €9,322.

The biggest gap is at third level, and Ireland also lags in spending on its spend on primary school pupils, although at second-level, it is above international norms.

The spending gap between Ireland and the rest of  the developed world  has grown rapidly in recent years, according to the report, from the international think-tank the OECD.

Between 2008-2013, at the height of the recession, spending on education in Ireland fell by 7pc – while it  rose by  8pc across the developed world.

The figures are included  in the OECD Education at a Glance 2016, the latest in a series of annual reports comparing education systems across the 35 OECD countries , and a number of partner countries.

Other findings  are that while teacher starting salaries are lower in Ireland, after 15 yeas they earn more than colleagues across the OECD.

Irish teachers are younger than the OECD average – 60pc of primary and 44pc of second-level teachers are under 40 compared with 40pc  and 33pc internationally  -  and teach for longer hours.

When it comes to third-level qualification rates, Ireland is continuing to race ahead of other countries. Last year 52pc of Irish 25-34 year olds had a degree, compared with an OECD average of 42pc.

The figures point to high levels of educational attainment among immigrants  to Ireland. Some 41pc of  foreign-born parents of 25-44 year olds in Ireland have a degree, compared with 18pc of native-born parents of the same age group.

International comparisons show  that Irish graduates do much better  financially than their counterparts in other countries as a result of having their qualifications.

On average, graduates in Ireland are paid 63pc more than those with a Leaving Certificate while across the OECD, the differential is 55pc.

However, female graduates in Ireland do relatively less well in the pay stakes than their counterparts in other countries.

In Ireland, women with a third-level qualification receive, on average, 71pc of male earnings, compared with 73pc across the OECD.

The pay gap is smallest for women with science, maths and computing degrees, who, on average, are paid 91pc of the corresponding male earnings.

But the under-representation of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) is an issue in Ireland, as it is around the world.  While 22pc of  Irish  males study science, maths and computing courses, the figure for women in 11pc.

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