Report findings show need for education reform, says Lyttle

Alliance Education spokesperson Chris Lyttle MLA has said an international report showing local 15-year-olds ranked average in a number of subjects was further evidence of the need for fundamental educational reform in Northern Ireland.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) benchmarks pupils in 34 countries at age 15 for reading, science and maths. Northern Ireland is average in all three competencies, below countries such as the Republic of Ireland, Estonia, Slovenia and Singapore.

The PISA report also found that the attainment gap between the 25 per cent most disadvantaged and 25 per cent most advantaged 15-year-olds in Northern Ireland was the equivalent of almost three years of schooling, a statistic Mr Lyttle described as shocking.

“These findings contrast sharply with the recent Trends in International Mathematics and Science report, which showed 10-year-olds in Northern Ireland significantly above the international average for maths and science,” he said.

“Questions must be asked why and to this end, I welcome the Education Committee inquiry into educational underachievement and post-primary transfer.

“We must put children before institutions and deliver the fundamental reform necessary for an education system which achieves the highest standards and skills for everyone in our community.”

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