Irish education spend falls 15pc behind world

Date Uploaded: 16/09/2016

Ireland's spend on education fell 15pc behind the rest of the world between 2008-13.


At the height of the recession, spending on education in Ireland fell by 7pc - while it rose by 8pc across the developed world.


Even countries that, like Ireland, suffered badly in the financial crisis put a priority on education spending. In Ireland, for every euro invested in education in 2008, it was 93 cent in 2013, while in Portugal, for every euro spent in 2008, it was €1.42 in 2013.


On average, Ireland invests €8,967 a year in each student, across primary to third level, compared with €9,322 across more than 30 other countries, according to a report from the OECD international think-tank.


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


The figures are included in th e OECD report 'Education at a Glance 2016', which compares 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 years they earn more than their 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 to 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 to 44-year-olds in Ireland have a degree, compared with 18pc of native-born parents of the same age group.


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


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 elsewhere. Women here 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 is an issue in Ireland, as it is around the world. While 22pc of Irish men study science, maths and computing courses, the figure for women in 11pc.


Journalist: Katherine Donnelly

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