The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has described the findings of the PISA 2015 study as an endorsement of the high quality work of Irish teachers and students at a time of hugely damaging cuts to education. In all three areas which were examined, the scores of Irish students were significantly above the OECD average.
According to the report, Irish students’ mean score in Mathematics is 504 which exceeds the OECD average of 490. The Irish score has risen from 501 in the previous assessment three years earlier.
Ireland also scored above average in reading and science. The score in science of 503 compares to an OECD average of 493 while score of 521 in reading compares to an OECD average of 493.
TUI said that today’s findings further endorse the achievements of Irish students and teachers, but their commitment must be better supported through significantly increased Government investment in education.
Speaking this morning, TUI Education/Research Officer David Duffy said:
‘These scores are a tribute to the resilience of teachers and students at a time when the austerity agenda has stifled the irrefutable case for significantly increased investment in education.
The report follows other recent positive international and national findings for Irish teachers and their schools such as last week’s TIMSS report. The rankings have been achieved despite the 11% cut applied to capitation funding between 2011 and 2015 and various other cuts to programmes and supports.
Irish teachers continue to teach a number of hours that is far beyond the international norm. September’s OECD Education At A Glance report shows that, at 735 hours, second level teachers in Irish schools teach far above the OECD average across second level of 669 hours and the European average of 642 hours. Also, at 935 hours, compulsory instruction time per second level student in Ireland is far higher than the OECD average of 915 hours and European average of 895 hours.
Meanwhile, in last year’s OECD Government At A Glance report, the percentage of citizens expressing confidence in the Irish education system was 83%. By way of comparison, the percentage of citizens expressing confidence in national government was 46%.
TUI endorses the policy recommendation for additional resources, targeted to students or schools with the greatest needs. Investment in education pays a huge dividend makes compelling educational, social and economic sense.
Today’s findings further endorse the achievements of Irish students and teachers, but their commitment must be better supported through increased, progressive Government investment in education.’