Education & Learning
Education & Learning
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” Henry Ford
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela
Education & Learning - Policy
Local Authorities in Ireland support specific initiatives associated with lifelong learning but, unlike some other countries, Local Government is not directly responsible for the provision of education or training. The Department of Education and Skills organises, finances and runs primary and most secondary schools in the country. The Cork Education and Training Board (Cork ETB) is one of 16 ETBs in the country. ETBs are statutory education authorities which have responsibility for education and training, youth work and a range of other statutory functions. ETBs manage and operate second-level schools, further education colleges, pilot community national schools and a range of adult and further education centres delivering education and training programmes.
Universities, Institutes of Technology and Colleges of Education are largely funded by the State through the Higher Education Authority (HEA).
Cork has a strong learning infrastructure that includes two major Third Level colleges (UCC and CIT), and four Colleges of Further Education (CityNorth College, Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa, St John’s Central College and the largest in the country, Cork College of Commerce) run by Cork ETB. Cork ETB also offers a wide range of complementary and second-chance education opportunities and initiatives tackling educational disadvantage in both formal and community settings (e.g. Youthreach, Community Education, Adult Basic Education (Literacy), Traveller Education).
The Cork Training Centre in Rossa Avenue, Bishopstown is under the remit of Cork ETB, since the dissolution of FÁS & its replacement with Solas. The Centre offers training to a diverse range of clients, including those entering the labour market for the first time, job changers, those wishing to up-date or acquire new skills, people with a disability and early school leavers.
The National Learning Network, part of Rehab, has two training centres in Cork City (in Hollyhill and Model Farm Road) offering certified programmes for adults who need additional supports & different approaches because of an injury, health condition, illness, mild or specific learning difficulty, or mental health problem.
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs’ (DCYA) Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: The national policy framework for children & young people 2014-2020 sets out the current national framework to address educational issues. Commitments involving Local Government include supporting Early Years practitioners, teachers and educators through the establishment of peer learning networks, and providing better access to educational supports through further developing cluster arrangements between schools, community and State services. The report sets out an increasing role for Local Government in promoting opportunities for children and young people to learn, including “...through appropriate policies in County Development Plans, the promotion of vocational education and training through the Education and Training Boards, and working with public agencies and employers to promote training, employment and entrepreneurship.”
Cork City Council has been committed to developing Cork as a learning city since 2002 and formally adopted the UNESCO Beijing Declaration on Building Learning Cities in 2014. The Cork Lifelong Learning Festival, which has grown annually since its establishment in 2004, is the main locally driven initiative working towards this aspiration. In 2015 UNESCO recognised Cork’s progress towards developing as a learning city by presenting it with a Learning City Award, one of only 12 cities worldwide to be honoured. The city also enjoys an international profile as a learning city thanks to its membership of PASCAL International Exchanges (PIE), a project that fosters exchanges on lifelong learning between local, community and city organisations throughout the world. Cork City Council’s library services is a major resource for lifelong learning in the city at local level, offering resources, study space, ICT and professional and knowledgeable staff.
Education & Learning - Stats and Facts
Nearly one in five persons (age 15+) living in Cork City are still in the education system
The overall trend in Cork City is towards a more educated population, with over one quarter of the population having a third level degree or higher in 2011, an increase from 15% in 2006. Nearly 18% (21,296 persons) of Cork City's total population (aged 15 +) had not ceased their education. The Student/Teacher ratio in Cork City was 15.1 in 2013/14, the lowest of any Local Authority in the country. Primary schools have relatively low average class room sizes with 66% of students in classes 20-30.
However, there is a distinct spatial component to educational attainment in the city; between 38% – 42% of the total populations of the three north side Electoral Divisions (EDs) of Fair Hill B, Farranferris B and Gurranabraher A, have an educational attainment of primary level or less, compared to the city wide average of 17%. Over 17% of the population living in the three north side LEAs have an ordinary level degree, National Diploma or higher, versus 31% of the LEAs south of the River Lee.
In 2011, 28% of the population (22,494 persons) of Cork City had a third level education. These percentages were higher for people living in the city centre (40%) and the southeast of the city (37%) and lower for the four designated RAPID areas (7% - 12%). In 2011, 17% of the population aged +15 (13,315 persons) living in the city had no formal/primary education. These percentages were higher for people living in the four RAPID areas (24% - 30%) and lower in the city centre (10%) and the southeast of the city (9%).
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs’ (DCYA) Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: The national policy framework for children & young people 2014-2020 report indicates that although 92% of children complete secondary education, only 13% of Traveller children do, resulting in increasing numbers of Traveller children facing the significantly increased challenge of finding employment.