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The statistics in this chapter have been obtained from the Department of Education and Skills, and the State Examination Commission. Results from the CSO’s Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) on Educational Attainment are also included. The data includes details of participation in and expenditure on first, second and third level education.

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7.1a Persons aged 15-64 years classified by the highest level of education attained
 
Thousands
Highest education level attained201120122013
Males 
Primary or below174.8172.8159.1
Lower secondary284.4280.1256.8
Higher secondary400.0379.9381.6
Post leaving certificate177.0184.3187.2
Third level non-honours degree159.6158.9165.4
Third level honours degree or above289.9301.9311.4
Other/Not stated43.831.937.1
Total1,529.41,509.81,498.6
   
Females   
Primary or below143.3152.1129.3
Lower secondary234.8226.4215.6
Higher secondary401.2380.8376.8
Post leaving certificate170.0173.9167.7
Third level non-honours degree221.9223.6235.3
Third level honours degree or above329.5345.6358.6
Other/Not stated37.229.536.1
Total1,538.01,531.81,519.4
   
All Persons   
Primary or below318.1324.9288.4
Lower secondary519.3506.5472.5
Higher secondary801.2760.6758.5
Post leaving certificate347.0358.2354.9
Third level non-honours degree381.5382.5400.6
Third level honours degree or above619.4647.5670.0
Other/Not stated80.961.373.1
Total3,067.53,041.63,018.0
Source: CSO
Note: A break in continuity has occurred in the Educational Attainment series resulting from changes to take account of the new ISCED 2011 classification and, therefore, data from 2014 is not directly comparable with earlier years.
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7.1b Persons aged 15-64 years classified by the highest level of education attained
 
Thousands
Highest education level attained20142015
Males 
Primary or below154.8136.5
Lower secondary264.3261.9
Higher secondary382.6385.3
Post secondary non-tertiary182.7167.0
Third level non-honours degree156.9193.0
Third level honours degree or above302.0289.2
Other/Not Stated47.149.4
Total1,490.51,482.4
  
Females  
Primary or below133.3121.1
Lower secondary207.9211.1
Higher secondary381.2373.3
Post secondary non-tertiary180.4166.3
Third level non-honours degree218.4263.0
Third level honours degree or above352.6335.6
Other/Not Stated42.948.0
Total1,516.71,518.4
  
All Persons  
Primary or below288.1257.7
Lower secondary472.2473.1
Higher secondary763.7758.6
Post secondary non-tertiary363.1333.3
Third level non-honours degree375.4456.0
Third level honours degree or above654.6624.8
Other/Not Stated90.097.4
Total3,007.23,000.8
Source: CSO
Note: A break in continuity has occurred in the Educational Attainment series resulting from changes to take account of the new ISCED 2011 classification and, therefore, data from 2014 is not directly comparable with earlier years.

In 2015, 36.0% of those aged 15 to 64 years (including not stated) had a third level qualification.  72.4% of all persons aged between 15 and 64 years (including not stated) attained education levels of higher secondary level or above.  Under 10% (8.6%) of persons aged 15 to 64 years (including not stated) had not progressed beyond primary level education.

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7.2 Persons in full-time education by level
 
Number
School yearFirst levelSecond level2Third level
1965/66504,865142,98320,698
1970/71520,129197,14224,496
1975/76550,078270,95633,148
1980/81568,364300,60141,928
1985/86576,576338,20755,088
1990/91552,528345,94169,988
1995/96485,923373,665102,662
2000/01444,782349,274126,300
2001/02447,446344,720131,812
2002/03448,754343,596137,323
2003/04451,755341,724143,271
2004/05455,572339,128143,546
2005/06462,811335,134145,287
2006/07477,078336,955149,502
2007/08490,838338,682148,014
2008/09501,448344,893152,686
2009/10510,460354,235164,843
2010/11514,852359,653169,209
2011/121521,677363,136166,574
2012/131531,973367,372168,640
2013/141540,232371,211173,462
2014/151548,542376,289182,623
1Revised to include data from DES non-aided institutions
2 Includes Post Leaving Certificate courses.
Source: Department of Education and Skills
School yearFirst levelSecond levelThird level
2005/06462811335134145287
2006/07477078336955149502
2007/08490838338682148014
2008/09501448344893152686
2009/10510460354235164843
2010/11514852359653169209
2011/12521677363136166574
2012/13531973367372168640
2013/14540232371211173462
2014/15548542376289182623

The number of students in first level education totalled 548,542 in 2014/15. This is an increase of over 8,300 over 2013/14 and is 95% of the 576,576 figure recorded in 1985/86. This number fell substantially since then, but has risen since 2001/02.

In the case of second level students, the participation rate rose strongly from 2005/06 until 2014/15, with 376,289 persons in full-time second level education in the academic year 2014/15.

There were 182,623 persons in full-time third level education in 2014/15, an increase of just over 780% since 1965/66.

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7.3 Voted Expenditure1 by sector for financial year ended 31st December 2014
 
€m
SectorCurrentCapitalTotal
Gross expenditure   
First, second and early years' education6,049.85.86,055.5
Second level & further education grants & services339.72.5342.2
Higher education1,478.40.01,478.4
Capital services75.9548.1624.0
    
Gross total7,943.8556.48,500.1
Deduct total appropriations-in-aid555.23.7558.9
Total net expenditure7,388.6552.77,941.2
1Voted Expenditure refers to the ordinary services of the Department of Education and Skills, the monies for which are voted by the Dáil and included under Vote 26 of the 2014 Revised Estimates for Public Services.
Source: Department of Education and Skills

Further information: Department of Education and Skills 2014/2015 Annual Report

In 2014, total gross expenditure on education by the State was €8,500.1m. Expenditure on first, second and early years' education was €6,055.5m, 71% of the total gross expenditure on education.

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7.4 Second level State examination candidates
 
Number
State Examination20042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520161
Junior Certificate56,86456,64057,78457,28755,94055,55756,08656,84158,79859,82260,32859,52160,247
 Male28,49528,62729,27328,81228,30828,36128,52329,18229,90730,55331,05130,30830,575
 Female28,36928,01328,51128,47527,63227,19627,56327,65928,89129,26929,27729,21329,672
               
Leaving Certificate258,74257,39154,11153,89355,54357,46157,83757,53955,81655,57756,98957,93158,466
 Male28,05927,18925,83225,73027,01528,25628,85528,72028,19128,13328,75128,76229,423
 Female30,68330,20228,27928,16328,52829,20528,98228,81927,62527,44428,23829,16929,043
              
All examination candidates115,606114,031111,895111,180111,483113,018113,923114,380114,614115,399117,317117,452118,713
 Male56,55455,81655,10554,54255,32356,61757,37857,90258,09858,68659,80259,07059,998
 Female59,05258,21556,79056,63856,16056,40156,54556,47856,51656,71357,51558,38258,715
               
1 Provisional data subject to revision
2 Includes Leaving Certificate Applied candidates
Source: State Exams Commission

Current provisional data: State Exam Commission website

Finalised data once confirmed will be available on this interactive table: Department of Education and Skills Database

In the academic year 2015/16, there were 118,713 second level examination candidates (59,998 males and 58,715 females).  There were 58,466 Leaving Certificate examination candidates, an increase of 0.9% on 2014/15.

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