In this paper I will examine the role of education in determining the progress of economic development in Ireland and Spain after their respective ascensions to the European Union. Some factors to be examined in this study are an economic comparison of each country at the time of EU integration, the rate and shape of progress since integration, the general role of education in economic development, and the influence of the European Union on education policy. I will then examine the specific effects of education on economic development in both Ireland and Spain. A theoretical framework provided by Joseph Stiglitz is used as the rationale behind this study, as he explains the purpose of reforming the education system and creating 'knowledge capital' in order to prepare for economic change. Finally, some comparisons will be made between the two countries to discern some general trends between education policy and successful economic development and to examine current state of each country's education system today.
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