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Ireland's spend on students is well below the international average – and primary schools fare worst of all

12 September 2017 9:01 AM
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Ireland's spend on students is well below the international average – and primary schools fare worst of all

The country ranks 17th out of 32 around the world in terms of what the State devotes, on average, to individual students, from primary through to third level. At primary level alone, Ireland is 19th out of 32.

The findings are based on the day-to day cost of spending on education and includes the number of teachers, and their salaries. The report shows that Ireland devotes a far higher proportion of spending to pay than is the case elsewhere. This means we spend less on other resources for schools.

The comparison between what Ireland and other countries spend is contained in the latest Education At a Glance report, an annual publication from the OECD.

It provides an overview of the structure, finances and performance of education systems in the 35 OECD countries and a number of partner countries, based on a range of data from 2014 and 2015.

In terms of education expenditure, it looks at it from various different angles, and one measure is the proportion of national income, known as GDP, devoted to it. In Ireland, it is 4.8pc of GDP, compared with an OECD average of 5.2pc.

According to the report, the average State spend in Ireland on a primary pupilis the equivalent of €6,464 per year, compared with €8,100-€8,300 on each second-level student and €8,597 at third-level. The corresponding figures for the OECD are €7,233, €8,200-€8,500 and €10,619.

The figures have been converted from a scale used in the report, based on the purchasing power in individual countries.

According to the report, in Ireland, more than in other countries around the world, a far higher proportion of spending on students is devoted to teachers’ salaries.

Internationally, teachers’ pay accounts for about 62pc of spending on primary student, and 61-63pc, at second-level, compared with 76pc and 68-69pc in Ireland.

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