Irish graduates more likely to be jobless than those in other countries
IRELAND has more young graduates than most other countries but they are also more likely to be unemployed.
The country gets a mixed report card in the 'Education at a Glance' survey from the international think tank, the OECD, which compares the education systems in over 40 countries.
It also shows how bailing out the banks pushed spending on education down the Government's priority list to below the international average.
Although the amount spent on education has risen, more public funds have gone on recapitalising the banks, as well as other departments such as social welfare and health.
In Ireland, 9.4pc of all public spending was devoted to education in 2010, compared with 13pc in the rest of the developed world. In 2005, at the height of the boom, 14pc of all public expenditure in Ireland was on education.
A key concern expressed in the report is the lack of progression in Ireland from education to work .
Paradoxically, while Ireland scores well in educational attainment, there are rising numbers of young people not at work, in education or training.
Ireland has the highest proportion of 25- to 34-year-olds who have completed third-level education in the EU. For the same age group across 34 OECD countries, Ireland is beaten only by Canada, Japan and Korea when it comes to having a degree.
Almost half, 47pc, of young adults in Ireland have completed third-level education, compared with 39pc across the OECD.
Ireland is also ahead in terms of the proportion of teenagers who are finishing second-level education, at almost 90pc, compared with the OECD average of 83pc.
The report says the most worrying effect of the economic crisis is soaring unemployment.
It warns that a significant proportion of young people are at risk of finding themselves neither employed nor in education or training (NEET), hampering future integration into the labour market.
The NEET rate doubled between 2008 and 2011 and the rise was most marked among graduates. Overall, 28pc of 25-29-year-olds in 2011 were in this category.
Meanwhile graduate unemployment rose by 5pc to almost 9pc, compared with an OECD average of 7pc.
It also found that in Ireland, almost 9pc of 15-29 year-olds who were not in education, had been unemployed for more than six months, double the OECD average and third only to Greece and Spain.