The latest paper in the Ulster University series looking at the NI education system highlights the complexity within the current system and reveals the extent of the challenge that must be faced if it is to be replaced by a more effective and cost-efficient model.
In order to “help build a shared and integrated society” the NI Executive’s New Decade, New Approach (NDNA) document makes a commitment to “support educating children and young people of different backgrounds together in the classroom”. NDNA recognises that, “the education system has a diversity of school types, each with its own distinctive ethos and values” but considers that this is “unsustainable”. On 10th March 2020 the NI Assembly resolved to call on the Executive to urgently… establish an external, independent review of education provision, with a focus on securing greater efficiency in delivery costs, raising standards, access to the curriculum for all pupils, and the prospects of moving towards a single education system.
It is envisaged that, by identifying the position, purpose and function of each of the organisations involved in the running of education and by examining how this pattern came into being, this and other papers produced through the Transforming Education project can inform the transformation of a system that is currently confusing and socially divisive.
The author of “transforming education 09 – Administrative Structures in the NI Education System concludes: “Given the issues outlined here, it is evident that transformation of the NI education system needs to be “ambitious and radical” if it is to “reduce duplication” and to ensure that public finance is “spent in the most efficient way”. Such transformation will require, at some stage, that the historical legacy and enduring vested interests of the churches and the traditional political blocs are addressed. It needs also to start by tackling the organisational complexity that lies at the core of the system.”
The UU School of Education has received funding from the IEF, the UNESCO Centre, The Community Foundation NI and The Ireland Funds to support publication of the research.
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