NERI report finds serious shortfall in education spending

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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NERI – the Nevin Economic Research Institute – says that Ireland spends too little on education and infrastructure as well as research and development.

NERI’s report looks at Ireland’s per person spending in key areas and compared this to similar countries. These include European countries, as well as the USA and Japan. The report found that Ireland’s spending shortfall is between €2.5 to €3 billion. It also concluded that this under-investment could seriously affect the economy.

Dr Tom McDonnell, NERI’s Senior Economist, said, “The best way to Brexit-proof the economy is to boost its long-run productive capacity. That means investing in our infrastructure, our people and new ideas. If we are to prosper in the future we will need to invest in our future.”

Investment shortfall from primary to third-level

Ireland spends less per pupil from primary to third-level education than the countries used for comparison.

In upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education Ireland spends 93.52 percent of the median. The government spends just over 80 percent of the median for primary and lower secondary education.

The biggest gap is in tertiary education with the government spending just 75.88 percent of the median.

NERI 12 comparator countries

NERI’s conclusion were based on comparing Ireland to 12 other countries. These were the European countries Belgium, Germany, France, Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Sweden, UK, Norway and Switzerland. Ireland’s spending was also compared to the USA and Japan.

Ireland was the single lowest spender per pupil on tertiary education. Furthermore, Ireland is the 3rd lowest spender per pupil on primary and lower secondary education.

The report argues that Ireland needs to spend an additional €2 billion per year on education to reach the comparator median.

Anne Sexton

University of Limerick accepts 17 asylum seekers on to programme
Applications close at end July for the GSA's one-year part-time courses


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