Quinn welcomes Pisa results

Minister for Education expresses delight at the results but warns against complacency

There has been a welcome for Ireland’s positive performance in the triennial Pisa education survey which shows strong improvement against international competition.

There has been a welcome for Ireland’s positive performance in the triennial Pisa education survey which shows strong improvement against international competition.

Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 14:28

There has been a welcome for Ireland’s positive performance in the triennial Pisa education survey which shows strong improvement against international competition. There has been a welcome for Ireland’s positive performance in the triennial Pisa education survey which shows strong improvement against international competition.

The Minister for Education expressed his delight at the results but warned against complacency.

Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests abilities in reading, science and maths literacy in 15-year-olds from 65 countries including all 34 of the OECD countries. The results are then tabulated with each country’s scores measured against the others.

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn welcomed the findings.

“While these are only one set of test results at one point in time, I am delighted to see Irish students performing well in reading and science and quite well in mathematics,” the minister said.

He expressed his delight in the strong performance. “However, we cannot be complacent. While we are doing well, we are not among the top performers internationally, especially in relation to mathematics, where our students are scoring just above the OECD average,” he said.

Good progress had been made in bringing up the standards of lower achieving students, but our higher achieving students are underperforming relative to similar students in other countries, Mr Quinn said.

“I congratulate our schools on these achievements. I know that we can be among the very best performing countries in the world and I urge all those in the education system to continue to work together to achieve this.”

Students and teachers could feel “justifiably proud” of the Irish results from Pisa said ASTI general secretary Pat King. “Despite five years of unyielding education cutbacks, school communities are working tirelessly to ensure their students continue to receive a high quality education,” he said.

The results also showed that Ireland had a more equitable school system than most other OECD countries, he added. “For parents it means that a quality education is available across all types of second-level school in Ireland.”

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) said the findings were an endorsement of the high quality work of Irish teachers and students despite hugely damaging cuts to education.

“The scores represent significant achievements by students and teachers and are a tribute to their resilience at a time when the austerity agenda has sidelined the irrefutable, clear case for progressive and appropriate investment in education,” said TUI general secretary John MacGabhann .

TUI fully endorsed one of Pisa’s key policy solutions which recommends that children from disadvantaged backgrounds should be targeted with additional resources or economic assistance, he said. It was vital that the Government fully embrace this principle in order to give every student a fair chance, Mr MacGabhann said.

The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals also welcomed the students’ higher ranking. “These improved international rankings for Irish students are very encouraging and are further evidence of how changing teaching methodologies are improving the quality of secondary school education,” said Clive Byrne, director of the association.

He paid tribute to the students, their parents, teachers and school management for their collective efforts in advancing the standard of education in Ireland. “Many international organisations and companies pay close attention to this data which could be the difference between locating operations in Ireland or elsewhere,” he said.

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