- Apr 18, 2006
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/ireland-s-social-policy-record-below-eu-average-1.3293264?mode=ampThe State stands 17th in an EU table of social justice.
Report uses 38 indicators to assess factors such as poverty, education and discrimination.
Across the six social policy indicators Ireland joins the ranks of the top 10 states only once (on social cohesion and non-discrimination), although it never sinks into the bottom five. Ireland achieves a 9/10 score for successfully fighting discrimination in the report, which pays tribute to the role of the Equality Authority (now part of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission) in this regard.
It is in education (where Ireland ranks 21st), however, that the report points to the most substantial policy challenges. Ireland spends just 0.1 per cent of GDP on pre-primary education, the least of all in the EU, it says.
Only 80 per cent of the working-age population have attained at least an upper secondary education, a share that has significantly increased since 2007. In first place on this metric is Lithuania at 94.6 per cent.
The report is critical of the class bias in two-tier secondary education. A minority of pupils (about 10 per cent) attend fee-paying schools where State support is augmented by the revenue from fees that can amount to 6,000 a year, it notes.