Investment and return in education


Sir, – On many occasions, following some embarrassing debacle in Ireland, we have set up tribunals of inquiry to establish what happened, and, in theory, to learn lessons.

I’ve often wondered if an opportunity might arise to try and identify the root causes of something working out surprisingly well here and if such an inquiry might be more useful. In principle it might show what to do, rather than what not to do. The former is surely more instructive.

Recent observations from the OECD that we rank last in terms our proportional spending on education may be the basis for such an investigation (“Ireland ranks in last place in OECD in terms of investment in education”, News, September 16th). This would appear to suggest that we have a poor sense of priority. Nonetheless the same organisation regards Ireland as having excellent educational results (“Young people in Ireland among world’s most educated”, News, September 10th, 2019). In the international standard Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests, we rank eighth, 21st and 22nd for literacy, maths and science, respectively, from 77 countries studied.

This seems to be exceptional value for money and an astonishing return on investment. Should we have an inquiry? – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.