DE working group says NI education system must address divisions in society

A group set up by the Department of Education has urged action to “address the fundamental divisions of religious background and social class in our education system”. A Strategic Forum Working Group has today (21 February 2017) published its assessment of how the education system can work more effectively towards an inclusive and prosperous society.

The Strategic Forum was set up in 2011 to “work with the department to help shape and influence policy development and strategic planning before decisions are made”. In 2015 the then Education Minister, John O’Dowd, asked for a sub-group to work on issues relating to inclusion and prosperity.

The report says the group has a vision of “education at the centre of a strong and inclusive society underpinned by a high-wage, high-skills economy, rather than just considering education and the acquisition of qualifications as an end in itself”. The group makes 33 recommendations. In terms of developing essential personal skills, the group calls for all schools to be able to develop an integrated ethos which will “prepare young people of different social classes, abilities/disabilities, religious and cultural backgrounds to be educated together to prepare them to live and work in a more pluralist society.”

You can read the full report here.