Global Competitiveness Report 25/1/12
Ireland's "excellent" primary education system recognised in influential global report
Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Press Statement Sheila Nunan, General Secretary Irish National Teachers’ Organisation on Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum
Ireland’s “excellent” primary education system recognised in influential global report
Ireland has been ranked 29th out of 142 countries in terms of overall global competitiveness. The Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum says that Ireland, after declining in rank in previous years “remains stable at 29th position this year”.
It goes on to state that the country continues to benefit from a number of strengths, including its excellent health and primary education (10th).
However, the country’s macroeconomic environment continues to raise significant concern (118th), with its budget deficit of more than 32 percent in 2010, following the government’s bailout of the banking sector, placing Ireland last out of all 142 countries in the sample. Of related and continuing concern is also Ireland’s financial market (with a precipitous drop from 7th place three years ago to 115th this year in this pillar).
But according to the report strong higher education and training (22nd), along with its well-functioning goods and labour markets, ranked 13th and 17th, respectively are competitive advantages.
Reacting to the publication of the report INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan said much of the credit for the performance of primary education should go to teachers who year after year turn inadequate government investment into a positive outcome for pupils.
Ms Nunan said low spending on primary education means large class sizes, inadequate secretarial and caretaking services, non-existent library services and underdeveloped back up services.
“Irish class sizes are among the highest in the OECD and the second highest in the EU,” said Ms Nunan. “On average there are 24 pupils in Irish classrooms compared to an EU average of twenty,” she said.
Smallest classes are in Luxembourg where there are on average 15 pupils per class. The largest classes are to be found in England and Wales.
“Irish primary education is significantly underfunded and under-resourced compared to other countries,” said Ms Nunan. “Yet Ireland’s primary education in overall terms ranks tenth out of 142 countries. This competitive advantage must be recognised and protected.”
The World Economic Forum’s Centre for Global Competitiveness and Performance through its Global Competitiveness Report and report series, aims to mirror the business operating environment and competitiveness of over 130 economies worldwide. The report series identify advantages as well as impediments to national growth thereby offering a unique benchmarking tool to the public and private sectors as well as academia and civil society. The Centre works with a network of Partner Institutes as well as leading academics worldwide to ensure the latest thinking and research on global competitiveness are incorporated into its reports.
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