An update from northern ireland
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An update from Northern Ireland


Since 1969 more than 3600 people have been killed as part of the Troubles in Northern Ireland

The Good Friday Agreement - 10 April 1998

The tragedies of the past have left a deep and profoundly regrettable legacy of suffering. We must never forget those who have died or been injured, and their families. But we can best honour them through a fresh start, in which we firmly dedicate ourselves to the achievement of reconciliation, tolerance, and mutual trust, and to the protection and vindication of the human rights of all.

The Good Friday Agreement 1998

  • Legislative Assembly

  • Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

  • Equality Commission

  • Parades Commission

Divided and increasingly Diverse

racial harassment is a significant part of life for many minority ethnic people living in Northern Ireland. 44% have experienced verbal abuse29% have experienced criminal damage to propertyone in ten physically assaulted

Education for Mutual Understanding Evaluation (Smith and Robinson 1996)

  • human rights

  • political literacy

  • controversial issues

Towards a culture of Tolerance: Education for Diversity (DENI, 1999)

Young People and the Conflict

  • alienated from political parties

    and politicians, but not from politics.

  • 79% expressed the desire to

    learn about politics in school

  • explore controversial issues

    but need the knowledge and skills to do so

  • only 1/3 had specific classes

    which addressed such issues as sectarianism

Citizenship in the Northern Ireland Curriculum

  • Curriculum Review

  • A Values-based Curriculum

    We value equality, justice and human rights within our society and our capacity as citizens to resolve conflict by democratic means. (CCEA, 2000)

  • Citizenship - an entitlement for all





Citizenship Key Concepts

  • Diversity and Inclusion

  • Human Rights and Social Responsibility

  • Equality and Social Justice

  • Democracy and Active Participation

The Nature of the Curriculum

  • Driven by questions not answers

  • Flexible

  • Entitlement framework

  • Reality

A Better



What has worked

  • Extensive pre-service and in-service training of teachers

  • Professional development courses (MSc modules at QUB and UU)

  • Enthusiasm of teachers and pupils

  • Whole school culture/community links

  • Production of support materials and resources

Challenges for Citizenship Education

  • Devolution - Citizens of where?

  • Credibility

  • Sustainability

Challenges Wider NI Context

  • Changing nature of the political context in Northern Ireland

  • Continued segregation and division

  • Citizenship a panacea?

Our Message

  • It takes time, no quick fixes!

  • Education can not do everything!

Hopes for the Future

History says, Dont hope

On this side of the grave.

But then, once in a lifetime

The longed-for tidal wave

Of justice can rise up,

And hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change

On the far side of revenge.

Believe that a further shore

Is reachable from here.

Believe in miracles

And cures and healing wells.

From The Cure of Troy

By Seamus Heaney 1990

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