The school in Ireland is compulsory for anyone between
the ages of 6 and 16. The primary school is formally 6 years
old, but over 95% of the children start when they are 4 or 5
years old and consequently attend 8 years in the primary
school. The secondary school is 3 years old, followed by a 2
year high school. It has been considered important to have
bilingualism implemented in the country, so that Irish
language has been emphasized in teaching. Check topschoolsintheusa for test centers of ACT, SAT, and GRE as well high schools in the country of Ireland.
Educational policy is established and curricula are
created centrally. The educational system is characterized
by the country being Catholic. The state covers just over
85% of the cost of all schools, while in practice the church
functions as the owner through local boards composed of
representatives of school owners (usually the church),
parents and teachers. The boards are delegated extensive
authority, but they are also responsible for the follow-up
of results. Many of the schools in the country are small,
40% of primary schools have fewer than four teachers. The
depopulation of the countryside makes this a problem.
Ireland has 7 universities. The oldest is the University
of Dublin (Trinity College), founded in 1592.
Crisis and the EU
Throughout the 1980's, Ireland was plagued by high
unemployment (an average of 16.4% in 1983-88) and
emigration. Added to this was high inflation and industrial
decline. In 1987, the government initiated an economic
crisis program that led to increased economic growth and a
decline in inflation in the following years.
In May 1987, 69.9% voted in a referendum for the
European Single Act - the EU Package Agreement, which
paved the way for the "internal market". As one of the
poorest countries in the EU, Ireland since its inception in
1973 has been a major net beneficiary of the Union's
In November 1990, attorney Mary Robinson won as the first
woman in the country to run for president. Robinson had run
as an independent candidate, but was supported by the Labor
Party, the Women's Political Association and the trade union
movement. She got 52% of the vote in the presidential
In the predominantly Catholic and highly conservative
country, Mary Robinson has excelled in her defense of the
rights of gays and women, as well as the recognition of the
rights of children born out of wedlock.
In July 1992, 57% of eligible Irish went to the polls to
vote on the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty - two
months after the Danish no. Despite the low
turnout, the result exceeded expectations and 69% of the
Irish voted for ratification.
In January 1993, Albert Reynolds of Fianna Fail was
appointed head of government, despite the fact that his
party in the election had lost seats to the Labor Party.
Fianna Fail had 77 of the seats in Parliament against the
Fine Gaels 45 and the Labor Party's 33 seats. Therefore, a
coalition government formed by Fianna Fail and the Labor
Party was formed.
As a result of the continued exhaustion of agriculture
and traditional industry, unemployment reached 20% in 1993.
Still, GDP rose as a result of rising exports - primarily
In January 1994, the government removed the ban on Sinn
Fein's radio broadcasts, and in August, the IRA declared
complete unilateral ceasefire, paving the way for an
expansion of the political dialogue on the island.
In November, the Reynolds government resigned after the
Labor Party withdrew its support. The reason was that the
extradition of a priest from Northern Ireland accused of
pedophilia was long drawn. Reynolds was followed by John
Bruton of Fine Gael, whose government was supported by the
Labor Party and the Democratic Left.
The new government coalition succeeded in maintaining
political and social stability throughout 1995. The Finance
Act was passed in February and contained improvements for
salaried employees, small businesses and low-income workers.
Economic growth was 5¼%.