Ireland has highest graduate levels in EU

Ireland has the highest number of graduates per head of population in the European Union according to Eurostat, an EU statistical agency.

Ireland scored highest in the research which examined the populations of 27 countries. The findings stated that 51.1% of Irish people have degrees from third-level institutions. Countries which followed closely behind Ireland were Cyprus, Luxembourg, and Lithuania.

The United Kingdom scored three per cent lower than Ireland, while the countries with the lowest number of higher education graduates were Italy, Romania and Malta. Graduate levels in these countries averaged at 20 per cent.

The research looked at people between the ages of 30-34 only. When approached by The College View, Research and Analysis Officer  Aisling McKenna pointed to figures which would suggest that if the age bracket had been larger Ireland could have scored even higher. DCU has over 2,145 students who are over the age of 34, some 245 of whom are in full-time under-graduate programmes.

McKenna also highlighted the fact that, on average, 19 per cent of DCU students drop out each year. There are over 11,762 students in DCU and 2,000 of those are international students. Some 93 students this year came directly from FETAC-level courses.

Regarding the Eurostat figures, the EU Education Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said “The progress in achieving our education targets is a positive message in a time of economic uncertainty.

“The jobs of the future will demand higher qualifications, and these figures show that more young people are determined to achieve their full potential. I encourage all member states to sustain their efforts so that we reach our 2020 targets.”

However she noted that not all countries were making progress, with Eurostat registering a decline in the number of higher education graduates in some countries between 2012 and 2010. These included Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia and Spain.

Emma O’Rourke

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