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Muslims Top Education Levels in Ireland

DUBLIN – A new research has found that Muslims in Ireland are better educated than general population, achieving the highest average of years of schooling in the European country.

“Ireland was one of few exceptions in Europe with Muslims completing an average of 11.8 years of schooling, or a year more than non-Muslims,” the Irish Times reported on Wednesday, December 14, citing the Religion and Education Around the World report by the Washington-based Pew Research Centre.

The study attributed the relatively high education levels among Muslims in Ireland, the UK, Lithuania, Slovakia, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Hungary to the countries having “immigration policies favorable to highly educated migrants”.

Regarding Ireland, the study says “for example, Ireland’s economic boom of the late 1990s drew highly skilled Pakistani and African migrants and refugees.”

“Partly as a result of this, Muslims in Ireland have an average of 11.8 years of schooling – one more year, on average, than non-Muslims in that country,” it added.

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The situation was not the same in other European countries, where Muslims achieved relatively less years of schooling.

In other European countries Muslims tended “to have less education, ranging from an average of 10.8 years of schooling in Georgia to a continent-wide low of 5.8 years in Spain,” the study found.

In France, Muslims had 2.9 fewer years schooling less than non-Muslims while in Spain it was 3.2 years less.

Many such European countries, the study found, had “experienced large inflows of Muslim refugees or guest workers in recent decades”.

It is estimated that Ireland’s Muslim population currently stands at approximately 70,000, of whom 2,000 are said to be doctors.

A 2011 census recorded 49,204 Muslims, including nearly 12,000 school-aged children. The numbers represent a 51 percent increase since 2006.