Record numbers of Irish students are completing the Leaving Cert, according to figures from the Department of Education.
The numbers show the percentage of Irish 20 to 24-year olds with at least an upper secondary education is the second highest in Europe at 94%.
The number of early leavers from education has dropped by more than 40% since 2011 from 10.8% to 6.3%.
Ireland’s ranking in this measure has risen by seven places to 7th in Europe, and puts the country significantly lower than the EU-28 average of 10.7%.
The majority of drop-outs happen between fifth and sixth year of secondary school.
The results show the gap in Leaving Certificate retention rates between Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) and non-DEIS schools has narrowed, almost halving from 15.8% in 2001 to 8.5% in 2010.