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Ireland
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Ireland
Overview of the education system (EAG 2021)
  • In Ireland, men are less likely than women to pursue a vocational track. In 2019, 36% of upper secondary vocational graduates were men, compared to 55% on average across OECD countries.
  • In Ireland, 62% of 25-34 year-old women had a tertiary qualification in 2020 compared to 54% of their male peers.
  • In 2018, Ireland invested a total of USD 9 921 per student on primary to tertiary institutions compared to USD 10 454 on average across OECD countries. This represents 3.3% of GDP, compared to 4.9% on average across OECD countries.
  • In 2019, all 3-5 year-olds were enrolled in early childhood education and care programmes and primary education in Ireland, compared to 88% on average across OECD countries.
  • Statutory salaries of teachers with maximum qualifications at the top of their salary scales are 97% to 100% higher than those of teachers with the minimum qualifications at the start of their career at primary and general lower and upper secondary levels in Ireland compared to 86% - 91% on average.
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    The following list displays indicators for which your selected country shows the highest and lowest values among countries. The list can be sorted by level of education or by age group. All rankings are calculated including available data from OECD and partner countries. Find out more about the methodology here.

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    Attainment

    The level of tertiary attainment among 25-34 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (58.4 %, rank 5/45 , 2020) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the percentage of 25-64 year-olds who attained a bachelor's or equivalent tertiary education degree is one of the highest among countries with available data. (28.8 %, rank 4/46 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Attainment by gender

    The proportion of 25-34 year-old men who have attained tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (54.5 %, rank 5/45 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Ireland has one of the largest share of women among 25-34 year-olds with a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education. (54.1 %, rank 2/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    The enrolment rate of 6-14 year-olds in Ireland is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (100 %, rank 1/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate among 15-19 year-olds in Ireland is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (93.6 %, rank 3/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of three-year-olds in early childhood education in Ireland is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (98.8 %, rank 4/41 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of four-year-olds in early childhood and primary education in Ireland is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (100 %, rank 1/41 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of students in public tertiary educational institutions is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (97 %, rank 4/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of students in government-dependent private tertiary educational institutions is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0 %, rank 19/22 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 3-5 year-old children in early childhood and primary education in Ireland is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (100 %, rank 1/41 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of upper secondary 15-19-year-old students enrolled in vocational programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (12.1 %, rank 38/42 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of upper secondary 20-24-year-old students enrolled in vocational programmes is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (97.8 %, rank 2/41 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of students enrolled in school- and work-based programmes among all upper secondary students enrolled in vocational programmes is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (100 %, rank 1/22 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation by gender

    The share of female graduates from upper secondary general programmes is one of the largest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (53.9 %, rank 5/42 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of female graduates from upper secondary vocational programmes is one of the largest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (64.2 %, rank 1/39 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the share of female post-secondary non-tertiary graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0.7 %, rank 23/24 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation by age

    The average age of upper secondary graduates from vocational programmes in Ireland is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data (30.1 Years, rank 4/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation by field of education

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of information and communication technologies is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (7.8 %, rank 3/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the proportion of upper secondary vocational graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.9 %, rank 34/34 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the proportion of upper secondary vocational graduates in the field of health and welfare is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (38.1 %, rank 1/34 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the percentage of post-secondary non-tertiary vocational graduates in the field of services is relatively low. (7.1 %, rank 21/24 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Fields of education

    In Ireland, the percentage of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is relatively low. (9.5 %, rank 34/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of students enrolled in the field of social sciences, journalism and information among all national tertiary students in Ireland is relatively low. (5.7 %, rank 31/34 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Student mobility

    In Ireland, international or foreign students from North America are most represented among all international or foreign students, compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (15.9 %, rank 5/75 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Student mobility by field of education

    The percentage of students enrolled in the field of education among all international or foreign tertiary students in Ireland is relatively low. (1.4 %, rank 29/33 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of students enrolled in the field of social sciences, journalism and information among all international or foreign tertiary students in Ireland is relatively low. (6.9 %, rank 29/33 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Adult learning

    In Ireland, the number of annual hours of participation of adults in formal and/or non-formal education and training is comparatively low (86 %, rank 22/26 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the number of annual hours of participation of adults without an upper secondary education in formal and/or non-formal education and training is comparatively low (56 %, rank 21/24 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the number of annual hours of participation of adults without an upper secondary education in formal education and training is comparatively low (267 %, rank 7/10 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the number of annual hours of participation of adults with tertiary education in formal and/or non-formal education and training is comparatively low (92 %, rank 22/26 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In enterprises of 10-49 employed persons, the annual training costs as a share of total labour costs is relatively high. (2 %, rank 2/25 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Adult participation in non-formal education

    In Ireland, the proportion of adults employed in enterprises of over of 249 persons and participating in job-related non-formal education and training sponsored by the employer is high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (70.4 %, rank 5/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the number of annual hours of participation of adults in non-formal education and training is comparatively low (36 %, rank 34/36 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the number of annual hours of participation of adults without an upper secondary education in non-formal education and training is comparatively low (39 %, rank 32/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the number of annual hours of participation of adults with upper secondary or post-secondary education in non-formal education and training is comparatively low (38 %, rank 32/36 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the number of annual hours of participation of adults with tertiary education in non-formal education and training is comparatively low (35 %, rank 36/36 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Expenditure in education and national wealth

    In Ireland, expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies. (3.3 %, rank 36/37 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, expenditure on secondary educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is comparatively low. (1.1 %, rank 37/37 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, public and private expenditure on primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is comparatively low. (2.4 %, rank 35/37 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, public expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP on primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education from final source of funds is relatively low. (2.2 %, rank 39/40 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, public expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP on primary to tertiary education from final source of funds is relatively low. (2.8 %, rank 39/40 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, total expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP on primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively low compared to 2010. (93 Index, rank 28/32 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the public expenditure as a percentage of GDP from initial source of funds on primary to post-secondary non-tertiary level is low. (2.1 %, rank 25/26 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the international expenditure as a percentage of GDP from initial source of funds on primary to tertiary education is high. (0 USD Equivalent, rank 2/29 , 2018) Download Indicator

    From 2012 to 2018, the average annual growth in the number of full-time equivalent student from primary to tertiary education is one of the largest in Ireland among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.7 %, rank 4/35 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The public expenditure as a percentage of GDP from initial source of funds at primary to tertiary education is relatively low in Ireland. (2.9 %, rank 24/25 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Public and private expenditure in education

    In Ireland, the relative share of public expenditure from initial source of funds on tertiary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (89.1 %, rank 5/26 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the relative share of private expenditure from initial source of funds on tertiary education is comparatively small. (6.3 %, rank 23/26 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Teachers

    The number of days of instruction in a school year in lower secondary school is especially low. (165 Days, rank 30/30 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The number of days of instruction in a school year in upper secondary school is especially low. (165 Days, rank 30/30 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Who the teachers are

    The percentage of primary to upper secondary teachers aged between 30 and 49 is especially high. (66 %, rank 3/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary teachers older than 50 is especially low. (18.1 %, rank 35/38 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of upper secondary teachers older than 50 is especially low. (24.2 %, rank 34/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary to upper secondary teachers older than 50 is especially low. (20.8 %, rank 35/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Teachers' salaries

    The average actual lower secondary teacher's salary among teachers aged between 25-64 is one of the highest per hour of net teaching time among OECD and partner countries with available data. (61652 USD Equivalent, rank 5/27 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The ratio of lower secondary female teachers' salaries to earnings of full-time, full-year women workers with tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.1 Ratio, rank 5/21 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The average actual salaries of 55-64 year-old lower-secondary teachers is one of the highest in Ireland. (74235 USD Equivalent, rank 3/23 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Principals' salaries

    The average lower secondary school heads' actual salary is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (104826 USD Equivalent, rank 3/23 , 2020) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the average actual salaries of 25-34 year-old lower-secondary school heads is relatively high compared to OECD and partner countries with available data. (96846 USD Equivalent, rank 2/17 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The average actual salaries of 55-64 year-old lower secondary school heads is one of the highest in Ireland. (108730 USD Equivalent, rank 2/21 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The average actual salaries of lower secondary men school heads aged 25 to 64 is one of the highest in Ireland. (104681 USD Equivalent, rank 3/21 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The average actual salaries of lower secondary women school heads aged 25 to 64 is one of the highest in Ireland. (104992 USD Equivalent, rank 3/21 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Ratio of student to teaching staff

    The number of students per teacher in tertiary institutions is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (23.4 Ratio, rank 4/34 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Organisation of the education system

    The number of instruction days per year for lower secondary students is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (165 Days, rank 35/37 , 2021) Download Indicator

    Employment and educational attainment

    The employment rate among 25-34 year-olds with below upper secondary education is compartively low in Ireland. (44.6 %, rank 41/43 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 35-44 year-olds without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (52.1 %, rank 41/43 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Employment by gender and educational attainment

    The employment rate among 25-34 year-old men with below upper secondary education is compartively low in Ireland. (52.6 %, rank 41/43 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Unemployment and educational attainment

    The inactivity rate of 25-34 years-old adults with below upper secondary education is high in Ireland. (47.8 %, rank 3/43 , 2020) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the inactivity rate of 25-34 year-olds with vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively high. (21.7 %, rank 4/33 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Earnings and educational attainment

    The earnings of adults without an upper secondary education are relatively high compared to those of adults with an upper secondary or a post-secondary non-tertiary education. (86 Index, rank 5/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Ireland, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old men with a bachelor's or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is high. (177 Index, rank 5/34 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Earnings of 25-64 year-old full and part-time workers with tertiary education are comparatively high. (180 Index, rank 5/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Earnings, gender and educational attainment

    The proportion of male full-time earners among all earners aged 35 to 44 without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (34.9 %, rank 27/28 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female full-time earners among all earners aged 35 to 44 without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (5 %, rank 27/27 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (23.9 %, rank 25/28 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (9.6 %, rank 25/26 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male full-time earners among all earners aged 35 to 44 with upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (54.2 %, rank 27/28 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female full-time earners among all earners aged 35 to 44 with upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (27.3 %, rank 26/28 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 with upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (38.2 %, rank 25/28 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 with tertiary education is comparatively low. (56.4 %, rank 25/27 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The earnings of men without an upper secondary education are relatively high compared to those of men with an upper secondary education. (97 Index, rank 1/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (among 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education and income from employment) are one of the lowest among countries with available data. (69.1 %, rank 33/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Entrance

    In Ireland, the percentage of new entrants in short-cycle tertiary programmes younger than 25 is relatively low. (35.7 %, rank 29/32 , 2019) Download Indicator


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    General findings
    
                            
    • One in five adults across the OECD has not attained upper secondary education.
    • In 2020, the unemployment rate of adults that had not completed upper secondary education was almost twice as high as those with higher qualifications, and 27% of these adults earn only at or below half the median on average across OECD countries.
    • In 2019, at least 10% of school-aged youth were not in school in about a quarter of OECD countries.
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    • In 2019, women made up 55% of new entrants to tertiary education on average. If current patterns continue, it is expected that 46% of young women will graduate with a tertiary degree for the first time before they turn 30, 15 percentage points more than men.
    • Women also earn on average about 76-78% of men’s salaries regardless of educational attainment, although the gender gap narrowed by 2 percentage points between 2013 and 2019.
    • Women are less likely than men to enter a STEM field of study, and the average share remained generally stable between 2013 and 2019.
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    • On average across countries, expenditure on educational institutions amounted to approximately USD 9 300 per student at pre-primary level; USD 10 500 at primary, secondary and post-secondary non tertiary level; and USD 17 100 at tertiary level.
    • The public sector funds 90% of total expenditure on primary and secondary institutions on average, often compulsory in most OECD countries, compared to 83% at pre-primary level and 66% at tertiary level.
    • In 2018, the OECD countries spent on average 4.9% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on primary to tertiary educational institutions.
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    • In 2019, less than 5% of pre-primary teachers were men, compared to 18% at primary level, 40% at upper secondary level and more than 50% at tertiary level on average.
    • Between 2005 and 2020, on average across OECD countries and economies with available data for all reference years, the statutory salaries of teachers with 15 years of experience and the most prevalent qualifications increased by 3% at primary level, 4% at lower secondary level (general programmes) and 2% at upper secondary level (general programmes).
    • In most countries, teachers above 50 years of age make up more than a third of the teaching force.
    • Attracting male teachers to the profession can be difficult: While the average actual salary of female teachers is equal to or higher than the average salary of other full-time, tertiary-educated women, primary and secondary male teachers earn between 76% and 85% of the average earnings of other full-time, tertiary-educated men.
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    • On average across OECD countries, 87% of children aged 3-5 are enrolled in education on average across OECD countries compared to 25% for children below the age of 3.
    • There are 15 children for every teacher at pre-primary level on average across OECD countries.
    • Half of children enrolled in early childhood development services and a two-thirds of pre-primary children attend public institutions on average across OECD countries
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    Key
    Diagram of funding flows - Ireland

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    Key
    Country Reviews for Ireland

    Note: These values should be interpreted with care since they are influenced by countries' specific contexts and trade-offs. In education, there is often no simple most- or least-efficient model. For instance, the share of private expenditure in education must be read against other measures designed to mitigate inequities, such as loans and grants; longer learning time is an opportunity to convey more and better content to students, but may hinder investments in other important areas. If you want further information on the nature of different variables, please take the time to read the analysis and contextual information, available at the website for each publication.
    All rankings for individual variables are compiled on the basis of OECD and G20 countries for which data are available. The OECD average includes only OECD countries which are listed here: http://www.oecd.org/about/membersandpartners/

    *TALIS averages are based on all countries participating in the TALIS survey, including partner countries and economies. This explains the difference between the OECD average and the TALIS averages. Data from the TALIS survey and Education at a Glance (EAG) may differ. See Annex E of the TALIS technical report and Annex 3 of EAG 2021 for more details about the data collections.

    B-S-J-Z (China) refers to the four PISA-participating provinces/municipalities of the People's Republic of China: Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

    For additional notes, please refer to annexes in the list of links below the introductory country profile text.