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Highest number of students ever completing second level education

The number of young men staying on at second level has also risen significantly in the last 11 years.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE NUMBER OF students staying in school to complete their second level education is at its highest rate ever, according to a report published by the Department of Education.

The report shows that the percentage of students who remain at school to sit the Leaving Certificate has risen to just over 90 per cent, up 9 per cent in 11 years.

It also shows that the number of young men staying on at second level has risen significantly by 16 per cent in the same period.

The report, published on the Department’s website, presents the retention rates of pupils who entered the first year of the junior cycle in 2005 and 2006.

Commenting on the report, Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn said he was “extremely heartened” to see an increase in the numbers of young men staying on to complete their senior cycle.

A small gap remains between the sexes with 91.8 per cent of females completing second level. However, the gap is narrowing, standing at 3 per cent now compared with 9 per cent five years ago, the report shows.

“The contraction in the labour market has meant that for many young people there are more reasons to stay on in education, but it is also important to recognise measures taken by this Department,” Quinn said.

“The extra resources provided to the 200 second level schools under DEIS and programmes like the School Completion Programme have certainly also played their part.”

Kilkenny had the highest retention rate in the country at 94.17 per cent, followed by Roscommon. The report shows Dublin City has the lowest rate of retention for Leaving Certificate at 85.17 per cent.

The proportion of early school leavers in Ireland saw a decrease of 13 per cent from 2004 and is now well below the EU average at 10.6 per cent.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning the Minister said he was still looking at savings that could be made in the budget to see what can be carried over into next year. He said the Department will try to be “as effective and creative as possible” without damaging the operation of the educational system.

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