Same Difference? Shared Education and Integrated Education: Transforming Education Briefing Paper 13

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Abstract

The structure of the school system in Northern Ireland ensures that the overwhelming majority of children learn in an environment where they are surrounded on all sides by pupils who share their community identity and are isolated from those on ‘the other side’. There is widespread recognition that the divided structure of education reflects and maintains ethnic separation in an already deeply fractured society, and that significant social capital could be gained if children were to be educated together. Two different models have emerged in response to the deficit in cross-community contact between pupils in school: Shared Education and Integrated Education. These two concepts are frequently conflated or confused but, although both aspire to bringing children together, each draws on a fundamentally different philosophy and perspective, and each faces a different set of challenges. This paper sets out to clarify those differences by examining the history and rationale behind each approach, and to identify the issues that each must overcome if education is to make a lasting change to the endemic pattern of systemic segregation.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBelfast
PublisherIntegrated Education Fund
Pages1-12
Number of pages12
Volume13
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2021

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