There has been an almost 60% increase in the use of remote learning opportunities in higher education since before the pandemic, according to the Education Indicators for Ireland 2022.
The number of students utilizing remote learning has grown from 9,207 in 2018 to 14,700 in 2021.
The report, published today, also shows steady growth in the number of postgraduate researchers, with the total number rising from 9,802 in 2016 to 11,755 in 2021, of which 55% are female. This figure relates to the number of people undertaking PhDs and research Masters, both full and part-time.
Including data from early years, primary and post-primary education, further and higher education, through to lifelong learning, the report provides comprehensive statistics and information regarding the education system.
Other key findings include an increase in the number of people engaging in apprenticeships from 19,630 in 2020 to 24,212 by the end of 2021.
Though craft apprenticeships continue to account for the majority of registrations, increased opportunities have seen other sectors of apprenticeships account for 13% of registrations.
Speaking today, Minister Harris said that the report demonstrated the “broadening” of education and training options “to allow learners to engage with, and continue, their education and training journey in a way that suits their individual learning styles and life stages”.
“Growth in remote learning in higher education and apprenticeship numbers demonstrate that learners are ready and willing to avail of a range of opportunities to gain their qualification,” Harris added.
The report also provides detailed analysis into primary and post-primary education.
It shows an increase of over 10,000 to the number of students preparing for the Leaving Certificate across 5th and 6th, from just under 81,000 in 2017 to over 91,000 in 2021.
Other key findings include a reduction in average primary school class sizes and a 2% increase in the percentage of pupils doing transition year since 2017.
Speaking today, Minister Foley said: “I welcome the publication of today’s report which presents us with a snapshot of the whole education system and is an invaluable tool in formulating future policy”.
“We will continue to work to further address these key areas and ensure that there is progress right across the education sector”.
The Education Indicators for Ireland 2022 report provides a detailed summary of data including both the academic year of 2021-2022 where possible, and a reflection as to how the education system has progressed throughout the past five years 2017-2021.
Topics included in the full report include data regarding school types, graduate figures, enrolments in further education and training, special education details, Leaving Certificate pathways, and information regarding access to higher education.
The report stands as the only report presenting data from the education and training sector together, outlining the progress made in the education sector over the past five years, while providing a snapshot of the education system as it stands at present.