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Integrated schools for all is impossible

In calling for an end to the segregation of children in schools in Northern Ireland, Margaret Marshall (Write Back, December 5) 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. I do not subscribe to the view that the mandatory integration of schools will somehow make sectarianism history.

It could be construed from Ms Marshall's letter that those parents who choose denominational education for their children are in some way not genuinely committed to a shared society. It could also be construed that Ms Marshall perhaps favours a compulsory integrated school system for all children.

Does Ms Marshall suggest the forced integrated education, not just of Catholic and Protestant, but also Jew, Sikh, Hindu and Muslim?

A not insignificant point overlooked by Ms Marshall is the fact that in excess of 90% of the population of the North lives in denominationally segregated areas, courtesy of successive unionist regimes. Therefore, even with the best will in the world, attempts to integrate schooling would be a logistical nightmare.

Any solution to sectarianism and schooling must be consensus-based, where difference is not just tolerated, but respected and where all creeds and colours are celebrated.





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