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Ireland Ranked Second Among 41 Rich Countries In Reducing Education Inequality


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Ireland has been ranked second among some of the world's wealthiest nations in reducing education inequality between children.

A report by UNICEF - the UN's children's agency - examines 41 European Union and OECD countries.

Only one country - Latvia - ranks higher than Ireland in reducing inequalities in children's reading scores by age 15.

Other highly ranked countries include Spain, Denmark and Estonia.

Image: UNICEF

According to the report, Ireland is ranked in the bottom third of countries when it comes to preschool enrolment - but it moves towards the top of the rankings in lowering inequality towards the end of secondary school.

In contrast, France has one of the highest rates of preschool enrolment - but falls to the bottom third by secondary school.

However, UNICEF warns that there are still concerns in Ireland among vulnerable groups such as homeless children, Traveller children and those from migrant families.

The agency observes: "High income is no guarantee of high equality. Some of the poorest countries included in this report, such as Latvia and Lithuania, have higher preschool enrolment rates and lower inequality in reading performance in primary and secondary school than those with far greater resources.

"However, almost universally, children from less privileged families do worse. Yet, the data reveal there is much more inequality within countries than there is between countries."

Looking at all 41 countries, the report also found substantial gender differences in children's reading abilities at age 15 - ranging from girls doing 2% better than boys in Ireland, to girls doing 12% better than boys in Bulgaria.


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