‘UNDERFUNDED’ says OECD report on Irish Education

OECD report ‘Education at a Glance 2018’ finds Irish primary education lacking

Today’s report from the OECD finds that expenditure on Irish education has failed to keep pace with the rising number of students in Ireland. The report, which compares education systems across the globe, shows that in Ireland, the lowest level of investment remains in the primary education system. For every €8 spent on a primary pupil, €10 is spent at second level and €13 at third level.

Furthermore, the report shows that most countries are spending more per student than at the start of the crisis in 2008. Ireland is the exception, along with Slovenia with the report finding that spending in Ireland has fallen against comparable EU countries in recent years.

On class sizes, Irish primary school teachers continue to teach more students than in other countries. The average class size in Irish primary schools remains at 25 compared to the EU average of 20 pupils per class as seen in countries such as Germany and Spain. Irish primary school teachers also work considerably longer hours than teachers in other countries. Irish primary teachers teach for 910 hours compared to the EU average of 762 and the OECD average of 784.

INTO General Secretary Sheila Nunan said, “Today’s report from the OECD confirms what we already know. Irish primary school education is underfunded, understaffed and undervalued by the Irish Government. Class sizes remain five pupils above the EU average, our primary school teachers work more hours than those in other countries and funding has failed to keep pace with these changes in the last number of years.”

“Irish primary education remains in dire need of a budget boost and every member of the INTO will be making the case to politicians in the run up to Budget 2019.”