Saturday 23 March 2019

We're falling behind competitors for investing in education system


Stock photo
Stock photo
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Spending on education in Ireland has not kept up with the rising number of students, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Most countries in the developed world are spending more per student than at the start of the financial crisis, but Ireland is one of the small number that is not.

Spending per student in Ireland from primary to third-level was only around the OECD average in 2015.

Meanwhile, Irish teachers are generally paid more than the OECD average, according to the OECD's Education at a Glance 2018.

The report compares education systems in more than 40 countries, using a range of measures including spending, teacher salaries, class size and student achievement.

To even out differences and allow for real comparisons between countries, the OECD converts expenditure and salary figures into purchasing power. The report bases its spending comparisons on 2015 figures and, while there has been some improvement since then, there would be no dramatic change.

Between 2010 and 2015, spending per student dropped by 22pc, and by 29pc at third-level. The cut in spending came at a time of rising student numbers.

Fianna Fáil education spokesperson Thomas Byrne said the Budget has to make progress on bridging the funding gap between Ireland and other countries.

Irish Independent

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