Discussions of divisions and inequalities in the NI education system are summarised in a new report published by the IEF.
Transforming Education: a Conversation looks at an event held at Stormont last year to introduce a UU UNESCO Centre research project to an invited audience of politicians, education bodies and civic organisations.
The UU team of academics is working to examine and illuminate issues which impact on the delivery of education in NI. The idea of the ‘Transforming Education’ project is to encourage wider debate about education and schools, and to consider how we might develop a common system of education. Topics are explored in accessible reports and the project is supported by the Community Foundation NI and the IEF.
The project was presented to an audience of MLAs, education planners, civic and business leaders and young people during Good Relations Week 2019. The event was sponsored by Kellie Armstrong MLA and hosted by the UU research team and the IEF.
Guests were invited to discuss in small groups the challenges facing our education system and feed back to the room. It was agreed that the system is marked by division of all kinds including by cultural/religious background and by academic ability at age 11. Many people commented that we needed to give vocational training the same status as academic education so that parents and pupils did not feel that one route through school was of higher status than another.
Participants highlighted the many ways schools shape young people, not only academically but in supporting mental health, promoting good community relations and helping students make the right career choices.
It was acknowledged that systemic change needs agreement on a vision for education and then both political will and community support to realise the vision.
Using the Mentimeter online polling system the guests were asked if they thought there should be an independent review of the NI education system, and 67% voted “yes”.
You can read the full report here.
Other publications in the ‘Transforming Education’ series can be found here:
transforming education – Introduction
transforming education – Isolated Together: Pairs of Primary Schools Duplicating Provision
Download the briefing paper
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