Since the 1998 Agreement and devolution in 2007, there have been three broad opinions on how best to achieve greater integration in the education system in Northern Ireland.
Firstly, there are those who argue for a system of common schools, attended by pupils from all traditions. A second argument is that integration need not be planned, but will happen organically as all schools become more inclusive and open to enrolment from other traditions. However, figures show that almost half of Northern Ireland’s schoolchildren are still being taught in schools where 95% or more of the pupils are of the same religion and fewer than 50 schools have an enrolment of more that 10% from the ‘other community’. A third argument is that separate schooling is inevitable and will continue for the foreseeable future, so another strategy may be to promote ‘shared education’ through more contact and collaboration between schools of different traditions. But if the Northern Ireland Executive plans only for ‘shared education’, does this mean that there will never be any change to the current system of separate schooling?
Read the rest of this article by Alan Smith on the site 15 Years On.