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Taoiseach Brian Cowen (center) and the former Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe at the launch of a major plan for technology in schools

The myth of Ireland's high ranking education system smashed

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Taoiseach Brian Cowen (center) and the former Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe at the launch of a major plan for technology in schools

Ireland's education system has been criticized by the latest Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) findings.

For the past two decades Ireland has prided itself on it's world class education system but it seems the latest findings seem to point to the contrary.

In 2000 the OECD/Pise survey of 15-year-olds ranked Ireland in an impressive fifth in literacy which was well above the OECD average.

However the past decade has witnessed influx of migrants into Ireland which means that more than 8 percent of the school going population in 2009 were non-nationals which has made a significant difference.

As a result Ireland has fallen dramatically from fifth place to 17th in literacy levels, representing the most dramatic drop by any OECD state.

The new chief inspector of the Department of Education, Dr Harold Hislop recently published a report of school inspections in primary schools and the results were shocking.

Inadequacies in almost 15 percent of English and maths classes were discovered when inspectors arrived unannounced in almost 500 primary schools in the past year.

Key findings of the OECD study include:

One-in-six students in Ireland has poor reading skills.
Overall 17 percent of students are low achievers when it comes to reading.
Girls secondary schools continue to demonstrate higher reading scores.
Many students from single parent families performed poorly.
First generation migrant children also had low levels of achievement in reading.

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