Education in Ireland
Ireland has a well-developed education system. In fact, its education system is one of the best in the world according to the 2007 independent IMD World Competitiveness Report. As a result of a sustained investment in this area Ireland now has one of the highest educational participation rates in the world.
The Department of Education and Science administers all aspects of education policy, including curricula, syllabi and national examinations. Education is free at the vast majority of primary and post primary schools and at undergraduate third level for students from EU countries. Attendance is compulsory from six to fifteen years of age. There are three stages: primary school which lasts eight years, secondary school which lasts five or six years and then higher education.
Ireland offers a diverse range of higher education institutions from traditional Universities to the more recently established Institutes of Technology, Colleges of Education and Independent Colleges. A range of courses are offered at these institutions. The Universities also offer Academic Year, Semester and Summer Programmes, many with credit transfer arrangements.