Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Forced schooling won't defeat sectarianism

YOUR editorial (Comment, June 26) calling for an end to the segregation of children in schools, surely echoes a sentiment which would be favoured by very many people.

Although I am fully in favour of educational pluralism, I also support parental choice. However, I do not subscribe to the view that the forced, mandatory integration of schools will somehow make sectarianism history. It could also be construed that your editorial favours a compulsory secular school system for all children against the wishes of parents.

Do you suggest the forced integrated education of Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Hindu and Muslim?

Does society have the right to make compulsory educational choices for children against parental wishes? A point apparently overlooked is the fact that in excess of 90% of the population of the north live in forced, denominationally segregated housing areas.

Therefore, even with the best will in the world, it makes attempts to integrate schooling a logistical nightmare.

The solution to sectarianism and schooling must be consensus-based. As a civilised society, we should celebrate, tolerate and respect difference, where all creeds and colours are celebrated.

To embrace schools with differing ethos is a celebration of cultural pluralism which we, on both sides of the border, should strive for.

TOM COOPER

Dublin

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