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Mary Canning Member Higher Education Authority Ireland Former Lead Education Specialist World Bank Second Level Vocational Education Reform in Ireland.

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Presentation on theme: "Mary Canning Member Higher Education Authority Ireland Former Lead Education Specialist World Bank Second Level Vocational Education Reform in Ireland."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mary Canning Member Higher Education Authority Ireland Former Lead Education Specialist World Bank Second Level Vocational Education Reform in Ireland

2 Ireland: a relatively poor agricultural country in 1960s From 1960s onwards, investment in human capital became a strategic objective as part of the national planning process; New Educational Policies, Programs and Implementing Agencies developed throughout the 1990s and into the 21 st century Many developments at tertiary level; but the report and this presentation focus on second level.

3 Vision for Change: 1960s Education inheritance was a sharply differentiated two-tier post-primary system – academically oriented secondary schools and narrowly focused vocational schools. By mid 1960s a series of reforms was introduced which included a strategy to broaden access and increase flexibility through the creation of new institutional models while introducing new curricula and pedagogical services to existing second level schools. Universal free post primary education immediately increased participation rates.

4 Spurs to Education and Training Reform EU Membership: 1973 Efficient and effective use of Social Funds Policies for inward investment (FDI) Parallel development of human capital to provide well educated and trained workforce.

5 Economy: 1970- 1992 Unemployment: in the late 1980s and early 1990s peaked at around 17 percent, with higher rates for school leavers. High rates of emigration; thousands of secondary school and university graduates left the country every year.

6 Economy: 1992- 2007 Average GDP growth rate of 4.8 percent between 1990-95 and 9.5 percent growth from 1995-2000! Since 2000, the per capita GDP of Ireland has grown at annual rates of 2.5 %– 4.2%, substantially exceeding the EU average in every year. In 2003, Ireland had the second highest GDP per capita within the enlarged EU -- almost one-third higher than the EU 25 average. Unemployment: 4.5% in 2007.

7 Debates and Policies In 1987 the first of five agreements with the social partners created a stable and secure environment for national planning and for investment in education. OECD reports: in 1962 and 1991 and the International Adult Literacy Survey in 1995 ( pub. 2000). Culliton Report: A Time for Change: Industrial Policy for the 1990s, emphasized the need to improve the link between education and the economy. Government discussion paper Education for a Changing World ( 1992) and White Paper, Changing Our Education Future (1995) led to the Education Act (1998). The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs report, Tomorrow’s Skills: Towards a National Skills Strategy, March 2007.

8 Structural changes to create improved labor market linkages Comprehensive Schools; Community Schools; Less narrow and rigid vocational schools; Comprehensive curriculum in all schools: expanded choice of academic and practical subjects, including world of work and ICT. Proportion of students enrolled in C&C and Vocational Schools rise from 31.4% in 1978 to 44.8 % in 2005.

9 Programs to improve relevance of Second Level Education Transition Year. Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme. Leaving Certificate Applied Programme. Schools' Business Partnership programme. Pre Employment Courses. Vocational Preparation and Training programmes, ( Post Leaving Certificate)


11 Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Autonomous organisations which include employers, teachers’ unions and other key stakeholders in their governance structure include: National Qualifications Authority of Ireland; National Council for Curriculum and Assessment; State Examinations Commission; Further Education and Training Awards Council.

12 FÁS (Training and Employment Authority) community employment schemes; job placement and guidance services; specific skills training and re-training, including apprenticeship training.

13 Outcomes ( 1) PISA 2003: reading literacy: 7; mathematics: 20; science: 16 ( out of 40 countries). Leaving Certificate Participation Rates: rise from 66% (1982), 80 % ( 1993) to 82 % in 2002. 86.1% completion upper secondary (2005). 55% enrolled in tertiary education ( 2004). 83% completion rates for university degree programmes 87% completion rates for Institute of Technology degree programmes. 70% completion rates for certificate and diploma level courses and 72% for apprenticeship programmes.

14 Outcomes (2) Low unemployment rates ( 4.5%). Capacity to use ES Funds efficiently. Highly trained workforce an attraction for Foreign Direct Investment. Capacity for evidence based policy analysis. Well developed monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for education sector.

15 Challenges (1) Demographics: rising numbers will stress education infrastructure and teachers. Labor Market forecasts predict more jobs for those with higher level skills and demand for expertise in science and technology. Deteriorating competitiveness ( high inflation and strong euro). New patent applications and R&D investment lagging. Government investment in all levels of education relatively low at 4.6%.

16 Challenges (2) Secondary completion rates of 86% are below the Government target of 92%. Scientific and mathematical literacy performance inconsistent with Government objectives to make Ireland a high performing Knowledge Economy. Participation in LLL low. ( 14% of 22-65 year olds in continuous learning in 2002).

17 Expert Skills Group Spearheaded by Ministry of Enterprise, Trade and Employment – not Education! Identification of future skills' needs. Detailed programme with measurable targets, benchmarks and estimated costs

18 Targets: by 2020 Increase retention from 82 % percent to 90% at Leaving Certificate Level ; Raise the proportion of the workforce with NFQ level 4 or 5 awards to 94%; Raise progression from secondary school to higher education from 55 percent in 2004 to 72 percent;  Vocational Training Courses for students who do not complete upper secondary education to lead to a qualification within the National Framework of Qualifications and lead to certification, ideally at levels 4 & 5.

19 Skills for the Future Basic/fundamental skills — such as literacy, numeracy, IT literacy; People-related skills — such as communication, interpersonal, team-working and customer-service skills. Conceptual/thinking skills — such as collecting and organising information, problem-solving, planning and organising, learning-to-learn skills, innovation and creativity skills, systematic thinking. Scientific literacy, enterprise skills and broader citizenship skills

20 Implications for Education and Training system Capacity: issues such as infrastructure, the number and quality of teachers, the provision of adequate counselling and guidance services and the availability of relevant work experience opportunities are already looming for the post primary sector. Cost: the proposed upskilling to levels 3, 4 and 5 is estimated over a thirteen year period at €153 million per annum; the cost of upskilling at higher levels is estimated over a thirteen year period at €304 million per annum.

21 Lessons Learned Vocational Education and Training has diversified and modernised, has attracted considerable financing and is regarded as relevant and successful. The key lesson is that a cohesive approach through national consensus building with all stakeholders involved has been a very successful approach to implementing education reform and modernisation in Ireland. Although there were changes of Government during the 1990s in Ireland, there was agreement and continuity among education and non education stakeholders about the vision, strategy and main policy agenda that had been developed using the consultative process discussed above.

22 Conclusion Ireland has good and flexible vocational education provision with strong labour market linkages. The global competitiveness challenge means that the labor market will require employees with broad, transferable skills with a good grounding in mathematics and science. There will be a perpetual need to revise curricula and to keep teachers trained and up to date and capable of imparting constantly changing specific skills as the need arises. The policy making capacity and vision for the future exists as does the detailed mapping of the way forward. Sustained and increased investment in the educational and training infrastructure will be required immediately and for the foreseeable future.

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