Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Lessons on integration

Education Minister Caitriona Ruane has recently been speaking about diversity and equality in education at a seminar in Nicosia, Cyprus.

The minister spoke of the role of education in building peace in a community in conflict and how, through education, young people can understand their shared history and learn to respect diversity.

Nevertheless, in Northern Ireland itself she appears to do little to facilitate greater reconciliation through cross community collaboration between schools or (even better) to encourage and facilitate more integrated education.

I wonder has the minister read the recent report from Queen’s University, Belfast, which concludes that in terms of her department ‘current policy arrangements do not identify reconciliation or the promotion of tolerance and mutual understanding as a key objective of educational collaboration’.

On top of this, the minister has recently denied the democratic will of parents at a number of schools who voted to transform to integrated status.

Surely one of the best ways to involve education in such work might be to help facilitate and

not to deny the demand from parents who want to see their children educated together in our still too-divided society.



Denis Loretto

Fetcham, Surrey