Student scores ‘significantly above OECD average’ in Maths, Science and Reading
The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has described the findings of the PISA 2022 study as an endorsement of the work of Irish teachers and students at a time when Ireland remains rooted to the bottom of the table in terms of investment in education among OECD countries.
Irish students’ scores across the three areas which were examined – Mathematics, Science and Reading – were all rated as being ‘statistically significantly’ above the OECD average.
The union also drew attention to the fact that the study was carried out in the middle of an unprecedented teacher recruitment and retention crisis at second level.
Speaking today, TUI President David Waters said:
‘The latest PISA reports, which show that Irish students’ scores were statistically significantly above the OECD averages, are a tribute to teachers and students. The results are released at a time when Ireland remains rooted to the bottom of the league table for investment at second level, with our spend at second level less than half that of the OECD average.
This chronic and short-sighted underinvestment is resulting in larger class sizes, inadequate access to modern, subject-specific facilities, inadequate access to the appropriate digital devices and subjects being taught in spaces that are often ill-suited to modern teaching and learning.
It is also important to note that the study was carried out in the middle of an unprecedented teacher recruitment and retention crisis at second level which continues today. According to a recent TUI survey of principals, 77% of schools advertised positions in the previous six months for which no teacher applied, while 64% have unfilled vacancies due to recruitment and retention difficult. Tellingly, just 1% of respondents believed the Department was doing enough to tackle the crisis.
In addition, severe cuts to the number of posts of responsibility in schools have not been fully restored to their pre-2009 levels. These posts help to ensure the smooth running of schools and also provide a critical pastoral support system for vulnerable students.
Teachers are also reporting with increased frequency that bureaucratic and administrative duties are deflecting from their core role of teaching.
We once again urge the Government to invest appropriately in education and to immediately work with us to implement the measures required to tackle the teacher recruitment and retention crisis.’