Ireland ranks last in the OECD in terms of investment in the education sector

Ireland ranks last in the OECD in terms of investment in the education sector

According to the latest data from the OECD, Ireland is the last of 36 developed countries to invest in education as a measure of our national wealth or GDP.

Economists say the presence of multinational corporations is upsetting our GDP numbers, but education unions say small investments in our schools are ers.

Anniversary 2021 Education Coordination Report According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the cost of education – from primary to tertiary and higher education – represented 3.3% of our GDP in Ireland in 2018.

This puts it behind the best performers at 6.6 per cent, compared to the European Union average of 4.4 per cent.

Economic value

The data indicate that Ireland performs well in equity sectors across the education system and has the lowest proportion of students in backward areas.

The proportion of students completing their studies is particularly high in Ireland. 93 per cent of 15- to 19-year-olds are enrolled in secondary education, with an average of 84 per cent in OECD.

There are few children in Ireland from the lowest socioeconomic groups on standardized tests – 16 per cent compared to the OECD average of 29 per cent.

The positive result is also reflected in the data showing the difference between domestically born and foreign-born youth who are not educated or trained. In Ireland, the difference is 2% more than the OECD average of 5%.


The salaries of school staff represent the largest expenditure on education.

Between 2005 and 2020, the salaries of teachers with 15 years of experience at the primary and secondary levels in OECD countries increased by 2-3%.

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But in Ireland, teachers’ salaries rose by 16 to 17 percent over the same period.

The average salary for teachers across the OECD – after conversion to US dollars – was $ 45,687 (€ 38,683) at the primary level and $ 51,749 at the secondary level.

In Ireland, it was $ 59,204 at the initial level and $ 61,652 at the second level.

They lag far behind countries like Germany, which have the highest average salary in primary education – 76,997 – upper secondary – € 89,816.

Irish teachers need to teach longer than their counterparts in OECD countries. Here, teachers are required to teach 909 hours per year at the elementary level and 704 hours at the secondary level.

This is in line with the OECD average of 791 hours in primary and 685 hours in secondary in 2020.


The spread of Covid-19 will continue to hamper access to personal education in many countries around the world by 2021.

By mid-May this year, all OECD countries had gone through complete school closures since the beginning of 2020.

The number of days schools are completely closed due to an epidemic varies from country to country and varies according to the level of education.

However, Ireland was an exception. In Ireland, preschools closed an average of 72 days from January 2020 to May 2021, while elementary schools closed at least 96 days and secondary schools 72 days.

By comparison, throughout the OECD, preschools averaged 55 days, primary 78 days, and secondary 101 days.

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Responding to the numbers, ASTI President Amon Denny said the continued failure to invest in our schools will have long-term social and economic repercussions for individuals and our community.

“If we take GDP as a measure of national wealth, it is unacceptable for a rich country like Ireland to be at the bottom of the world rankings,” he said.

The epidemic has dramatically demonstrated how important schools are to children, families and communities.

“It also shows that large classrooms, inadequate staffing, inadequate housing and ventilation undermine schools’ ability to provide a safe environment for quality education.”

Denny said the main goal of the 2022 budget is to increase investment in education.

“We need more classrooms, more public spaces, better ventilation and comprehensive physical infrastructure. After all, we need more teachers to provide the learning and well-being opportunities that current education policy demands. ”

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