A new OECD study published this week has shown that Irish 15-year-olds are significantly above average when it comes to their performance in science, maths and reading.
In the latest Programme for International Student Assessment report, which is a comparative study carried out every three years, Irish students come third out of 35 developed countries when it comes to their literacy skills.
They rank 13th out of 35 OECD countries in both science and maths.
This latest PISA study had a particular focus on science. Despite Ireland’s significantly higher than average performance – Ireland was one of a number of high scoring countries that saw a drop in their performance compared to a previous study in 2012.
It also found that the gap in performance between boys and girls in Ireland in science and maths has widened, with males doing considerably better.
Out of almost 118,000 people working in Stem in Ireland only a quarter are women.
Although I commend the initiative launched by the previous Minister for Education last year to generate more interest with female students in Science and Maths subjects – the study reveals it is not proving sufficient. As such, I am calling for a new initiative to be introduced to enhance female performance in these subjects.