Joined: Dec. 2005
I understand that the standard if education in NI is very good.
However it is slso the case that the faith-based school system is at least partly responsible for perpetuating the differences between two tribes. There are only 58 schools where you can be taught with children of other beliefs - the very first one opened in 1981.
There is now a 'Nortern Ireland Council for Integrated Education'. On i't website you can access independant research that shows that Children that attend 'Integrated' schools are more likely to occupy the middle ground in politics:
|First, at a time of ongoing sectarianism and frustrated politics, where many people seem programmed into the view that identity is something which we are receive at birth and is fixed for life, rather like our DNA. This research confirms that young people who attend an integrated school are willing to challenge such stereotypes by being "more likely to reject traditional identities and allegiances than those who attended a segregated one". They are able to explore the whole meaning of identity, because integrated schools provide safe spaces within which they are supported and encouraged to challenge sectarian stereotypes and explore alternative models of citizenship.|
Second, those findings of the wider study which were based upon a large sample of the adult population (Life and Times survey) suggest that "the positive effects of integrated schooling extend into later life". There is no coincidence in the fact that the title of the research links integrated schooling with political progress, as the report goes on to suggest that an integrated education nurtures the development of individuals who "have the potential to create a new common ground in N Ireland politics".
This willingness to engage with the other takes place on both sides of the so called "political divide" as evidenced by the report´s findings that "Protestants who experience a formally integrated education occupy the middle ground in N Ireland politics" while "in general Catholics who attended either a formally or informally integrated school were more likely than their segregated counterparts to abandon their traditional territorial allegiances".
I can't speak from experience like yourself - but don't you think that children in Northern Ireland could have an equally good or even better education if they weren't seperated according to the faith of their parents at age 5?