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Integrated schools in Northern Ireland today

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  1. The benefits due to integrated schools
  2. Criticising integrated schools

Integrated School still exist today in Northern Ireland. Actually, their numbers continues to increase year after year. For instance, there were 62 in 2013 whereas there are 65 today: 45 integrated primary schools and 20 second level schools.
The general system of education in Northern Ireland creates a clear separation between school-pupils from different religious groups. A huge majority of the children in Northern Ireland are in schools in which at least 95% have the same religion. It clearly shows that outside the integrated schools, most of the children are in segregated schools. In October 2010 the First Minister Peter Robinson even described this system as a « benign form of apartheid which is fundamentally damaging to our society ».

[...] Studies also show that integrated education are seen as a way to promote a better future for Northern Ireland. These studies underlines the fact that public opinion's point of view is more and more in favor of integrated schools, perceived as essential and beneficial for Northern Ireland society and its future. Actually, many researches has been led in order to examine the benefits due to integrated schools. From an educational point of view, integrated schools create more positive group positions, especially towards cultural diversity; pupils are more tolerant and understanding and they develop less extreme political attitudes. [...]

[...] Indeed, a research led in 2003 shows that 72% of the parents should have chosen an integrated school for their children if there was one nearby. Only of the people surveyed were clearly opposed to integrated education. Considering that they were 13% with the same point of view in 1999, it is clear that over the years, parents are more and more in favor of integrated education. In conclusion, education in Northern Ireland is still quite segregated according to the religious background of the pupils, but there is a tendency, since the 1970's, towards a new type of schools: integrated ones. [...]

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