For Northern Ireland to become more integrated, there has to be a greater focus on integrated schools and integrated housing, argues the chief executive of the Integrated Education Fund, Tina Merron. She was interviewed for the latest Forward Together podcast.
“I think the majority of people in Northern Ireland want a shared future and a united community,” says Tina. “We need to give civil society more of a say. We need to encourage people to speak up and especially young people. And then when we do get them to speak up, we have to listen to them.
“Integrated education has been run for the last 35 years as a kind of model for wider society and it’s a model that empowers parents, communities and young people. It encourages people to speak up and encourages children to look at what unites us, as opposed to what divides us. Integrated schools are safe spaces to have these discussions – children from different traditions sit side-by-side, day-by-day, learning about each other, from each other. This experience removes any fear of other traditions, different cultures and enables them to express their identity. And this has a ripple effect.”
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