Survey on cross-border education
Parents in parts of Northern Ireland are to be asked for their views on cross-border education, it has been announced in the Assembly.
A survey conducted by the Department of Education aims to gauge the level of demand from those living in border areas in securing a place for their child at a school in the Republic.
Sinn Fein Education Minister John O'Dowd said: "The nature of the lives of families in the border area continue to evolve. Many parents now live in one jurisdiction and work on the other, but their children can potentially face barriers to crossing the border in search of places in schools.
"Some of the barriers are legislative in nature and my department is currently looking at this, however in many cases parents are just not aware of the options that may be open to them.
"Earlier this year, through the medium of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC), Minister Ruairi Quinn and I agreed to proceed with a joint survey to examine how education is provided along the border corridor and whether there is scope to engage in joint planning of the respective schools' estates in this area."
The online questionnaire will be available to parents of pupils attending schools that lie within six miles (for primary schools) and 12 miles for (post-primary schools) of the border.
The findings will also be used to assess the potential for cross-border planning of schools' estates.
Meanwhile, Barry McElduff claimed Northern Ireland's students hoping to gain admission on to university courses in the Republic face an obstacle course of hurdles.
In the Assembly, the Sinn Fein MLA put forward a motion calling for the Minister for Employment and Learning and the Minister of Education to work closely with their counterparts south of the border to remove barriers which limit student movement.
He said: "The obstacles which limit student mobility include lack of information about universities and institutes of technology in the other state or part of the island; entry requirements and confusion."