Other major factor that impeded on development in Ireland is lack of education system that is responsive of development needs. According to Garvin, the education system that was present in Ireland in 1940’s and 1950’s were ‘archaic and clerical’ (Honohan, 352). The education system was laying more emphasis on professionalism rather than science and practical learning. Education system of any country is very important in its development efforts. The quality of labor force that a country has is directly proportional to the quality of education system that a country invests in.
Labor factor is very important in economic production of a country and Ireland failed in building an education system that is responsive of economic growth and industrialization. The system did not inspire innovation and discovery and this held the country from seizing an opportunity to shift their economy from agricultural-based to an industrial-based. The education system also denied schooling to most young people beyond the age of 14 for decades until the revolution in education system that was pioneered by the Vocational Education Committee (VEC) in 1951 (Honohan, 350).
Government’s lack of emphasis on education was evident as the Irish emigrants to the UK were seen to be of a very low educational standard. (Garvin, 193). Church has been at the centre stage in the Irish society. Most of Irish are staunch Catholics and thus church influence in the economic and social matters had been strong (Brown, 112). After independence, the Church in partnership with the government inherited the control of social services systems. Catholic Church has been important in provision of education, health and other social services in Ireland (Ibid, 132).
According to Garvin, the Church was like a “second government” as it has command of civic life that went to the extent of vetoing policy proposals that government announced. Irish Catholic Church which commanded great authority in the way government was run and shaped attitudes of the society had an anti-economic mindset. The Church failed to guide the society and government into reform agenda that will liberalize the economy from decades of underdevelopment (Redmond, 101). The Church was opposed to modernization of education, which is a key factor in transition of the economy to a competitive one.
The Church deliberately made effort to ‘block’ societal changes through scientific discovery and innovation, which would results to industrialization and urbanization, which the Church was uncomfortable with since they felt it will bring secularization and hence they lose their grip in the society. After independence, Britain conceded a major social role to the Catholic Church and a land settlement role. According to Garvin, this was uneconomic as it led to running of key resources in uneconomic way that resulted low production and development in the country (Garvin, 180).