Report finds achievement gap

23rd June 1995 at 01:00
The latest report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which devotes a section to cataloguing problems in the education system, has had an unhappy reception from teachers.

The OECD wants a longer school year (Ireland's school year is currently one of the shortest among the member states) to allow more time for the study of maths and science, areas where Irish pupils are achieving less than their counterparts. Generally, the report sees the education system as lagging behind the most advanced OECD member countries in several key respects.

It has also surprised observers by calling for national testing at ages seven and 11 and the publication of results which the report says might be used to allocate extra resources to poorly-performing schools, "rather than accept poor results supposedly associated with social background."

The organisation is also concerned that almost a quarter of pupils do not complete secondary education and a constant minority of children start secondary school without necessary skills, because performance varies considerably across primary schools .

The report suggested that the extra resources created by the falling birth rate should be poured into poorly performing schools. It has also cast doubts on the wisdom of the government's decision to abolish university tuition fees from next year. Instead, it recommended more carefully targeted grants for low-income students.

The teacher unions have rejected the OECD's recommendations, which Charlie Lennon, general secretary of the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland, described as "confused and confusing".

OECD Economic Survey: Ireland 1995, Pounds 1R 16.50 from Government Publications Office, Molesworth Street, Dublin.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now