Boom is bad for learning;Briefing;International

12th February 1999 at 00:00
Ireland

The booming Irish economy is having one unfortunate side effect - it's encouraging more young people to leave school without completing their education.

The boom is thwarting government plans to persuade 90 per cent of students to remain in school until they complete their Leaving Certificate, aged 17 or 18. The percentage had risen to 82 per cent but is thought to have slipped because of job opportunities, particularly in the service sector.

Now Micheal Martin, the minister for education and science, wants firms to tackle the issue by insisting that 16-18 year-olds attend an education course while working. He said it was irresponsible to let the teenagers leave school without qualifications and "mortgage their futures just because we have a short-term need to fill certain types of jobs".

One obstacle to the plan is the low number of part-time courses available, a fact acknowledged in a recent Green Paper on adult education.

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