Ireland has one of the lowest rates of take-up in adult education

New figures have been released today

New figures show Ireland has one of the lowest rates of participation within adult education in the EU.

Figures from the EU Education and Training Monitor show that only 6.9% of Irish adults are going back to the books to learn new skills.

Croatia has the lowest rate in the EU with only 2.8% of adults returning to education.

Ruth Deasy of the EU office in Dublin says skills shortages in economies are determining the numbers returning to study.

"As certain sectors of the economy have skill shortages like ICT, this is probably something Ireland needs to improve over time," she said.

Nearly 16% of adults are returning to education in the UK, while Denmark tops the table with 31.3%.

Nordic countries are currently debating a mandate which would make education compulsory for adults. 

Poul Nielson, the Danish lawmaker arguing for the mandate, says in the 21st-century economy, few people can get through life on just the education they received when they were young.

“In order to live with the technical changes that go on and on, human beings have to be better educated,” he said. “It’s not enough to simply be satisfied that we have educated people until they grow up and get a job and then leave the rest to the employers and the employees. Too many never really get a second lift in their capacities.”