Educational System of Ireland

The Irish Education System is divided into three basic levels: Primary (for 8 years); Secondary (for 5 or 6 years) and Third level which offers a wide range of opportunities from post-Secondary courses, to vocational and technical training, to full degree and the highest post-graduate level.

Primary Education in Ireland

The primary education system emphasizes a child-centered approach and is founded on the belief that high quality education enables children to realize their potential as individual and to live their lives to the fullest capacity appropriate to their particular stage of development.

Second Level Education in Ireland

The second-level education sector in Ireland comprises secondary, Vocational, Community and Comprehensive Schools. The types of schools mainly differ on the basis of administration and sources funding.

Higher Education in Ireland

Third Level Education System or Higher Education in Ireland is broad in scope and encompasses the university sector, the technological sector, the college of education and private, independent colleges. The first three grouping which comprise 34 institutions are autonomous and self governing, but are substantially state funded.

Programmes available at Third Level Institutions

  • One-Year Certificate : 1 year full-time course
  • National Certificate : 2 years full-time course
  • National Diploma : 1 year after National Certificate
  • Bachelor's Degree : Normally 3 or 4 year course
  • Graduate Diploma : Usually 1 year
  • Masters Degree: Either by research or through a taught programme-1 or 2 years duration.
  • Doctorate (PhD): Usually takes a minimum of 3 years of original research

Universities in Ireland

Universities offer degrees at Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate levels and undergraduate and postgraduate diplomas over a full range of disciplines. Teaching at undergraduate level is normally by way of a programme of lectures supplemented by tutorials and, where appropriate, practical demonstrations and laboratory work.

Masters degrees can be taken by coursework and research or by research alone. Doctoral degrees are awarded on the basis of research.

Most of the universities have an International student office with trained staff on hand to deal with any issues arising for overseas students. This office usually organizes an orientation programme at the start of the academic year to assist students in getting familiar with Irish life and college procedures.

Other events such as day and weekend excursions and sporting and cultural activities are also run by the international student offices. Overseas students are also encouraged to join the many clubs and societies enjoyed by their Irish counterparts.

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