The Education Sector and Irelands Competitiveness

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University of California, Santa Barbara
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One of the significant sectors that contribute to the competitiveness of Ireland is an education in regards to providing skilled and efficient manpower. Investing in primary education is essential in bringing up a strong workforce required in the growth of the economy; with Ireland displaying a good example (Wolf, 2002). An educated nation has a high chance of promoting innovations and skills such that economic growth is frequently experienced (Barro, 2013). Ireland is a good example of such a nation. From a general perspective, reports by the NCC and the WEF highlight primary education and institutions of higher learning as basic elements that promote the competitiveness of Ireland. Ireland is perceived to be among the countries with the best systems of education whereby it has invested highly on education and skills that can benefit its citizens. It is worth noting that Ireland is the only country in the European zone whose largest portion of its citizens speak English. The aspect gives it an advantage in the foreign markets in regards to international relations (OFarrell, 2015). According to the reports by the World Economic Forum, one of the strengths accredited to Ireland in regards to its ranking in competitiveness in 2016 is being positioned 13 in primary education, training in addition to higher education (NCC, 2016). As stated earlier, When it comes to the aspects entailing security of investors, quality of education, intellectual property, levels of productivity, rules of the FDI, and various exchanges, Ireland ranks position ten from a global perspective (NCC, 2016). Individuals that are not educated are trained on skills that allow them to take part in activities that improve their living standards. Health and primary education are perceived to the forth pillar of the Irish economy while training and higher education make part of the fifth pillar of the Irish economy (NCC, 2016).

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Barrow (2013) explains that the concept of competitiveness and education tends to be quite complex when it comes to economic progress. However, he explains that improvements in education correlate with the improvements in the productive levels of the workforce. West (2012) explains that countries whose students perform better in the sciences exhibit high chances of economic growth. The subjects are perceived to increase the curiosity in students and improve their mechanical skills such that by the end of their course work, they are highly skilled in contributing to the economy. The author ranks Ireland to be among the nations with students who perform better excellently in the sciences. He states, In science, the United States significantly trails twelve countries and outperforms just nine. Countries scoring at similar levels to the United States in both subjects include Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, and Sweden, (West, 2012). Ireland is perceived to have the best primary education system in addition to institutions of higher learning that are quite advanced which have played a great role in improving its competitiveness; as per the reports of the NCC. It is perceived that if it continues improving its education systems, it will experience periods of success in its competitiveness. As noted earlier, investing in primary education is essential in bringing up a strong workforce required in the growth of the economy; with Ireland displaying a good example (Wolf, 2002). The primary level of education is perceived to be the foundation of developing skills among individuals such that by the time they join high school and institutions of higher learning, they are already aware of what they want to be and achieve in life.

Sahlberg (2006) asserts, More precisely, evidence shows that both primary and secondary education significantly contributes to economic development and growth. He explains that in most countries that perform well when it comes to economic progress, their education systems view individuals as capital. In such situations, the governments make huge investments in the acquisition of skills and knowledge in addition to ensuring that they gain access to quality medical care such that in future, they are able to provide efficient labor that results in economic progress. The author further explains that improved education systems make it possible to have an improvement in the average salaries and the levels of production such that chances of experiencing social problems are reduced and obtaining economic progress as the end result (Sahlberg, 2006).

The advanced education system in Ireland and other countries that have made substantive reforms in their education system, instead of paying focus on mastering content such that there is a monotonous routine on how students learn, the developed education systems allow creativity, problem-solving and ate flexible such that every need of student is met. The focus has and is still being paid in technology advancements such that students are being trained in ICT and other skills for them to be at par with changes in technology. These makes it easier to recruit a workforce that is already equipped with the necessary information. According to the analysis carried out by Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), most teenagers in Ireland perform better in mathematics and sciences from a global perspective (Sahlberg, 2006). The assertion is as per the reports by the BBC that stated, Fifteen-year-olds in Northern Ireland have performed slightly better than the global average in international tests in maths, reading and science, (BBC, 2016). PISA is a program by the OECD that focuses on the improvements in education systems for the purpose of growth. The issue of globalization is put into perspective in regards to education and economic competitiveness. Globalization is viewed as significant for it allows the exchange of ideas among nations in regards to improving their education systems. Ireland, being once a member of the EU can be perceived to have borrowed ideas from other countries in the EU on improving its education system (Barro, 2013). Be that as it may, more improvements have to be done for Ireland to continue improving its competitiveness. The fact that Ireland is perceived to have one of the best education systems gives it an upper hand in experiencing economic progress. The view is that an improved education system results in improvement of an economy such that high competitiveness is achieved.


Barro, R. J. (2013). Education and economic growth. Harvard University, 14(2), 301328 (P318)

BBC, (2016). Pisa tests: Northern Ireland teens 'slightly better than global average'.

Sahlberg, P. (2006). Education Reform for Raising Economic Competitiveness. Journal of Educational Change, 7(4), 259-287.

West, M. R. (2012). Global Lessons for Improving U.S. Education. Issues in Science & Technology 28, no. 3:37-44

Wolf, A. (2002). Does Education Matter?: Myths About Education and Economic Growth. Westminster: Penguin Books Limited

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