Minister of State with responsibility for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock T.D., has welcomed "The Learning Curve - Education and Skills for Life" report which was recently published by education company Pearson.
This report places Ireland’s education system in 9th position in a new global table. The 2014 report has taken "skills for life" as its theme. It involves 39 countries and one region (Hong Kong).
The report is a compilation of the results and rankings of other studies including PIRLS, PISA and TIMSS and also PIAAC, Two categories of education outputs were used - cognitive skills (PIRLS, TIMSS and PISA) and educational outcomes (graduation rates and literacy).
The top five achievers are all from East Asian countries/regions, topped by South Korea. Fifth to 9th places are occupied by Finland, UK, Canada, Netherlands and Ireland. Ireland has moved up one places since 2012, when it was ranked 10th.
Minister Sherlock said, “The development of skills for our students is, I believe, not only important during their primary and second level education but also needs to be reinforced in adulthood so that the skills are maintained and enhanced. We are really talking about learning for life and it is welcome to see Ireland performing so well in this study which reflects knowledge and skills in later life.”
“The Learning Curve provides evidence based data which can be used by myself and my colleagues as we consider education into the future. The Pearson report concludes that student and parent engagement in academic performance is key; the up-skilling of adults is vital to reduce the decline in skills achieved in school; and most importantly Pearson stresses that improvements can happen and are happening.”
The Minister continued, “This Pearson report is one of many reports that we use when we are considering the reforms that are needed in our education system. I am happy that Ireland's achievements are improving and placing us higher on a global scale. But we need to constantly improve and reform so that we don’t become complacent.”
“From a STEM perspective, which I have responsibility for in the Department of Education and Skills, we should be ensuring a focus on developing skills and examining how digital learning and technology can enhance our learning for life.”
 PIRLS Progress in International Reading Literacy Study
TIMSS Trends in International Mathematics and Science study
PISA Programme for international student assessment