People living in Leitrim, Sligo and Donegal do less well educationally than those living in the East and South of Ireland.
According to a new European Commission report which tracks education opportunities and qualifications of people aged 15 or over across the EU there are proportionately more graduates and third-level students in the east and south than BMW counties.
The Mind the Gap report warns gaps in educational standards encourage brain-drain towards the more developed areas and compounds inequality between regions.
Gerry Finn, Director of the Border, Midland and Western Regional Assembly said one of the possible reasons for the regional variation is the large proportion of third level institutions located in the greater Dublin region.
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