CIRE - Integrated education in Northern Ireland: Education for peace?
Dr. Shelley Mc Keown, Graduate School of Education
Across the globe, education is used as a tool to promote peace and build harmonious relations. Integrated, mixed or inclusive education is one example of this, where children and young people from different racial and / or religious backgrounds are educated together. This is usually with the hope of helping to create a non-discriminating and cohesive society, particularly in places with a history of conflict. Since the outbreak of the Northern Ireland conflict, known as the ‘troubles’, education has been used as one means to improve intergroup relations. The first integrated secondary school opened in 1982 and to date there are 20 integrated secondary and 40 integrated primary schools in Northern Ireland, accounting for 5-7% of the entire school population.
In this seminar, I will review the existing literature on integrated education in Northern Ireland and assess the impact of attending an integrated school on intergroup relations. In addition, I will presents findings from 11 years of national survey data collected amongst Northern Irish 16 year olds. Results show that young people attending integrated schools feel more positive towards the outgroup and are more likely to endorse contact and mixing, than those who attended religiously segregated schools. These findings are discussed in relation to new educational initiatives in Northern Ireland and the wider discourse on peace-building education.
Free event, open to all, booking not required.