Where’s The Funding, Leo? Ireland Ranked Lowest by OECD on Investment in Education

The Irish-Second Level Students’ Union calls for action on educational investment, after the OECD’s report  “Education at a Glance 2019”, published September 10th, places Ireland in last place for investment in education as a percentage of GDP. The report, comparing the educational reality in 35 of the OECD member states, shows that Ireland invested just 1.2% of GDP in second-level education, compared to an OECD average of 2% and an EU average of 1.9%.

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Speaking on the release of the data, ISSU President Ciara Fanning stated “Second-level students deserve investment in their education. With an increasing student-teacher ratio and class sizes, students are not getting the individual engagement with teachers they need. We should be able to take pride in our education system and invest in the best possible environment for learning and participation. Irish students have a right to the same level of investment in their future and their education as our fellow OECD countries.”

The report was as equally jarring when reviewing investment in other areas of education. Ireland invested just 3.5% of GDP in total for all primary, second-level and third-level education, compared to an OECD average of 5%. Ms. Fanning further noted “These results come in the week where we see Trinity College tumbling down the global rankings, and in the wake of revelations in early childhood education. These issues and more can all be traced back to a chronic underfunding of our entire education system, and the Government’s lack of recognition of how vital a tool education is for building a healthy, prosperous and informed society.”

The ISSU condemns the lack of investment in education, particularly in the second-level sector.  With the report emphasising the far-reaching benefits of education, how can the Government justify the neglect it shows the education sector? 

“Where’s the funding, Leo?”

The OECD report is available here: https://www.oecd.org/education/education-at-a-glance/

For further comment, please email media.communications@issu.ie

Robert O'Donnell