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Education in Ireland: An Overview

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1 Education in Ireland: An Overview
Presentation to Ministry of Education Ministry of Industry and Commerce and Delegation Colombia Dr. Catherine Kavanagh Department of Economics University College Cork, Ireland and Former Manager Expert Group on Future Skills Needs Forfas, Ireland

2 Overview Structure of Education in Ireland The Policy Context
Growth and Research What Have We Learned Concerns and Challenges for Ireland

3 Structure of Irish Education
First Level - Primary Second Level Third Level - Higher Education Fourth Level – Doctorate and Post-Doctorate Level

4 Primary Level Years 1-8 Statutory age entry is 6 years although most start at 4 Curriculum is child centred and allows for flexibility in timetabling and teaching methods No formal examinations at the end of primary cycle

5 Second Level Includes:
Junior Cycle (3 years) Transition Year (optional 1 year) Senior Cycle (2 years) Different types of 2nd level schools, mainly differentiated by sources of funding, e.g. Secondary schools, community schools, vocational schools Two examinations: Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate All schools follow curricula laid down by Ministry of Education and Science Compulsory education is from age 6 to 16 or until students have completed 3 years of second level education

6 Third Level – Higher and Further Education
Universities (7) Institutes of Technology (14) – formerly Regional Technical Colleges Colleges of Education (5) Specialist Institutions Medicine Law The Arts Private Colleges Adult/Further/Community Education

7 Government’s Role Responsibility for government’s role in education rests with the Department of Education and Science – primary and second level Third Level – NO separate ‘Ministry’. The HEA – an independent statutory body manages third level but remains answerable to the Minister for Education and Science

8 Department of Education and Science
Highly centralised system Rules and regulations Recognition of schools Curricula Resourcing Staffing Teachers’ salary scales

9 Higher Education Authority
Statutory Planning and Development Body for Higher Education and Research in Ireland Wide Advisory Powers Funding Authority Quality Assurance Procedures Strategic Development Plans

10 Teaching Profession High status
High salaries relative to EU counterparts Quality of in-take to colleges Colleges Teacher training Curriculum development In-career education New teaching methodologies

11 Policy Context in Ireland
General consensus that: Education has long been central to Ireland’s cultural, social and economic development A key strength of Irish education in the past has been its relevance to wider social and economic needs In a changing society and in a rapidly evolving economy, education must continually re-invent itself to remain relevant and responsive General view of all stakeholders that Ireland should progress to a knowledge-based economy View that government investment in education is justified on a number of levels

12 Wider Policy Context Importance of productivity growth - improving living standards – key driver is productivity growth in the future What drives productivity? – human capital (skilled labour force) is one key element Global, technological and demographic change emphasise importance of human capital

13 Wider Policy Context Impact of human capital investment – evidence of growth and productivity? Increase average education in population by one year has positive impact on productivity of between 3-6% - OECD Third level education more important for OECD countries Stage, level and type of education matter for growth Human capital plays key role in fostering technological change and diffusion Human capital has positive impact on physical capital

14 Wider Policy Context Range of wider social effects of greater human capital include Lower risks of unemployment; higher chance of labour market participation Increases in social cohesion Superior health status, increased level of exercise, more frequent use of seat-belts Lower smoking consumption, lower incidence of excessive alcohol consumption Lower levels of crime So: societal benefits > private benefits

15 Ireland’s Remarkable Growth
Various reasons put forward including: Full, active participation in EU Low Corporation Tax Rate Success in attracting large multi-national companies The skills and experience of the IDA Young English-speaking population Increased participation in labour market Immigration not emigration Returning graduates Partnership agreements More stable public finance position however……

16 Ireland’s Remarkable Growth
Sustained investment in education – the critical driver of our economic success and social progress

17 Investment in Education in Ireland
Slower to evolve in Ireland than in other OECD countries Attempted economic expansion in the early 1960s not very successful because: Shortage of people with suitable qualifications and skills mix OECD Report 1966 Free education introduced (1967) Beginning of serious investment Expenditure as percentage of national income has doubled since early 1990s Free third level education introduced in 1996 Real recognition by Irish government of importance of education for economic, social and cultural development

18 Investment in Education
5.4% of GNI, less in terms of GDP Small level of expenditure on private institutions Overall expenditure on education in Ireland approx 15% of total government spending but expenditure by student is less than EU and OECD average at all levels 84% of all current expenditure at first and second level is for salaries 74% of current expenditure in higher education for salaries

19 Education Policy Two strands to Irish education policy
Education policy aims to facilitate the accumulation of human capital in the economy with aim of fuelling economic growth Education policy aims to aid the government’s policy objective of equity by ensuring equal access to, and opportunities within, the system Ireland cooperates at EU level in the development of education and training policies – e.g. Bologna Process

20 Policies Aimed at Growth
The work of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) Range of initiatives to promote science at all levels of education Life-long learning initiatives Role of HEA Role of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research initiatives…………

21 Research Programme of Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI)
Scientific and Technology Investment Fund Strategy for Science/Technology and Innovation (2006 – 2013) Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) IRCSET and IRCHSS

22 Programme of Research in Third-Level Institutions
PRTLI Provides separate funding for research Develops major research centres Funds major research projects Independent selection of projects

23 Research Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) – established in Role is to support research in strategic areas that advance the country’s technological and economic success and reputation IRCSET and IRCHSS provide new sources of funding for researchers and research projects in these fields HEA’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) established in 2006 (fund of €300m) SSTI – key targets established, e.g. doubling number of PhDs

24 Research Investment Has created new capacity to highest world-class standards New researchers employed New career paths for existing researchers New dynamic in institutions Inter-institutional co-operation Ireland now a significant international research player

25 Higher Education Institutions in Ireland
Traditional Universities Other higher education institutions Institutes of Technology

26 Institutes of Technology
Strategically located around the country Comprehensive range of courses from craft/apprenticeship programmes to post-doctoral level qualifications High quality applied research Programmes career-focused

27 Institutes of Technology
Innovative partnerships with industry Ongoing research and consultancy services to industry Strong reputation as centres of excellence Have demonstrated an ability and agility to respond to changing economic growth Strong international collaborations

28 How Does Ireland Perform?
41% of all year olds in population have 3rd level qualification up from 27% in 1999, EU average = 28% 86% of year olds in population have upper second level attainment, above the Lisbon Target of 85% PISA: (test of OECD 15 year olds) – Ireland performs very well in relation to reading, less well on Mathematics and Science and just above OECD average % of year olds in population that have upper second level education = 91% Programmes at primary and secondary level have focused on retention and achievement of students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds

29 So: Investing in People is Important
By 2015, 80% of the existing workforce will still be there; meanwhile, 80% of all technology will be replaced (ILO) Lifelong learning and skills enhancement of existing workforce is crucial Positioning Ireland to continue to be internationally competitive, innovative and successful Lifelong education should not be seen as a cost but rather as an investment which will generate massive returns in the future. (OECD)

30 Goal: Building World-Class Third-Level Education
Should produce graduates to the highest possible standards Cornerstone of economic success Bedrock of the knowledge society Essential in making transition to higher value activities Challenge – to develop the mix of creativity and skills to respond to the needs of a constantly changing global labour market

31 Skills – Tomorrow’s Competitive Advantage
Must develop competitive advantage in world-class skills, education and training in order to make this transition in which skills drive innovation, productivity and entrepreneurial activity. Knowledge and innovation are the key ingredients for success

32 Skills Requirements Not static World changing fast
Difficult to predict Constant need for re-appraisal/change particular skills and balance of skills Shift to services/new knowledge economy demands greater degree of innovative ability and creativity the application of knowledge

33 Future Skills Needs Ongoing needs analysis in Ireland
Framework of skills Fundamental skills Literacy/numeracy/use of technology People related skills Communication/interpersonal/team-working/ customer service Conceptual skills Collecting/organising information/problem solving/planning and organising/learning to learn/innovative and creative Global Management and Leadership skills Higher level skills Science/Engineering/ICT and R&D

34 What Have We Learned? Respond quickly to skills needs: extent to which Ireland can evolve to a knowledge economy will depend to a large degree on the ability of the educational system to respond quickly and efficiently to the evolving skill needs of enterprise Flexible and adaptable: Education and training environment must be flexible and adaptable. A process that is continuously proactive 3rd Function of Higher Education: in addition to education and research, the third level has a third role to play in promoting the development of enterprise through the provision of a range of services and interactions with industry Integrated government policy required: a coherent policy framework spanning relevant government departments and agencies Co-ordination: of the activities of all relevant stakeholders

35 The Rewards Improved education and training yields a social dividend
Better social cohesion Better public health Mitigates against poverty, crime and social welfare dependency Maximises the full potential of each individual Rewards for meeting challenges – great Cost of not meeting challenges – equally great 353535

36 Concerns for Ireland Demographic change – falling proportion of year olds Loss of internationally traded businesses Ireland’s debt burden – continues to grow while interest rates are rising Dependence on the construction sector Costs – concern for business – consumer prices, labour costs, and non-labour costs External risks – success in long-term depends on success in export markets, energy prices

37 Challenges in Future Need for enhanced productivity – has slowed in recent years, requires investment at all levels of education system Promotion of competition – costs Tax system – must be competitive – broaden base and efficiency of public services Innovation – need to improve capabilities of our companies in moving up the value chain Skills – globalisation and ICT, fears about outsourcing and automation, growing demand for skills that require expert thinking and complex communications, need to retrain existing workers, need for strong basic skills and competencies, need for advanced skills

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