Date Uploaded: 28/03/2016
Almost 4,000 second-level students who left school in 2011 were in receipt of social welfare by the end of the year, new figures show.
A Department of Education report shows most of the 55,000 students who completed school in that year progressed to higher education (53 per cent) or further education and training (28 per cent).
However, 7 per cent were not involved in education, employment or training.
The remainder were either in employment (7 per cent), or had emigrated or were involved in seasonal work (5 per cent).
Policymakers have been worried in recent years about so-called Neets (young people not in education, employment or training), on the basis that early experiences of unemployment can cause life-long damage and lower earnings.
The figures are contained in a two new reports on students who completed school and early school leavers, published by the Department of Education.
Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said it was a positive sign most students were progressing to third-level and further education.
“However, there are students in both cohorts who aren’t engaging in further education or training and the data emphasises yet again the importance of providing these young people with appropriate options,” she said.
When the figures are broken down by schools in disadvantaged areas, the proportion of school-leavers in receipt of social welfare rose to 12 per cent.
The same data shows 26 per cent of students from Deis schools progress to third-level compared to 51 per cent in non-Deis schools.
However, a higher proportion of students attending schools in disadvantaged areas progressed to post-Leaving Cert courses (27 per cent) versus non-Deis schools (17 per cent).
Figures for early school leavers show that more than 7,500 left school before completing their Leaving Cert.
The number of early leavers has been declining year on year, down from just under 11,500in the 2001/2 academic year.
Most of these early school leavers students went on to enrol in some form of further education or second-level education (51 per cent) or were in education outside the State (16 per cent).
Similarly, a small but significant proportion were in receipt of social welfare (7 per cent), or in employment (4 per cent) or were classified as “other”, which includes emigration (21 per cent).
Journalist: Carl O'Brien