Irish Education is controlled by the Department of Education and Skills and is characterized by three distinct levels, namely primary, secondary and higher tertiary education. All this is compulsory for children between 6 and 15 years, and free right through university for people applying from within the European Union too. A single curriculum is taught in all schools. After grade 6, children write their primary certificate examination.
Following primary education most pupils study on at secondary or vocational schools until they take their leaving certificate after grade 12. Those following an academic curriculum have the choice of comprehensive / community schools, religious secondary schools or Gaelcholáistes
where the medium of education is Irish. In urban areas there is greater freedom of choice.
Vocational educational committees are responsible for vocational schools for which the state contributes over 90% of costs. Here 28% of secondary school students receive training in practical skills which should provide them with work for the rest of their lives.
There are 38 higher level institutions in Ireland that include universities and institutes of technology. There are also colleges that are either constituently linked to these, or designated institutions of higher education and training. Twenty five third-level courses are presented in the Irish language.
The oldest university in Ireland and founded in 1592 is University of Dublin, Trinity College illustrated here. It enjoys an enviable reputation throughout the world.