First published in 1999, this volume is focused on the framing and implementation of public policy in education in a society with deeply entrenched cultural and political identities as expressed by Protestants and Catholics through their different schooling systems. The problems and prospects of reconciling political and ethnic conflict in Northern Ireland are analyzed from the viewpoints of the chief power groups which influence and direct public policy including: the churches, government departments; nationalist and unionist politicians and educationalists. The book breaks new ground through interviews with representatives of these groups providing new insights into the ideological background of the ways in which education policy is set, involving the protection, recognition and reconciliation of cultural and religious differences. Interviews explore specific issues such as the creation of religiously integrated schools and the policy implications of 'Direct Rule' from the Westminster parliament after the suspension of the Stormont government in 1972. The book also provides an analysis of aspects of the troubles in N.I. involving wider issues of human rights and religious freedoms expressed through a religiously and culturally segregated schooling system set against the state’s responsibility to create and sustain a stable and equitable society.
Table of Contents
1. Historical Background to Education in Northern Ireland. 2. Schooling and Identity. 3. Structure, Power and Policy. 4. Policy in Practice. 5. The Policy Process: Interviews with Policy Makers.
’...is essential reading for all specialist writers in the education field.’ Belfast Telegraph ’The author employs past and recent history to demonstrate the central role played by the churches in sustaining both cultural difference and a system of selective education.’ Children and Society