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Shared Education statement welcomed

22 October, 2013 - by Chris Hazzard

The Education Minister has today set out a roadmap for greater sharing in education across religious, economic and geographic barriers, Sinn Féin education spokesperson Chris Hazzard had said.

Welcoming John O’Dowd’s response to the report of the Ministerial Advisory Group on shared education; Mr. Hazard said enhanced sharing would lead to greater equality and educational outcomes.

 “Sharing must become the accepted reality at every stage of education, from pre-school to post-graduate,”

“I believe the Ministers response today sets out a positive roadmap to achieving that goal and building on the many excellent examples of shared education which are already happening within our schools and communities.

“We need to ensure that all barriers within education are broken down; diversity is something that should be embraced and celebrated within our schools, not feared.

“But this isn’t just about sharing across religious or cultural divides – it is also geographic and economic. Young people living in communities along the border shouldn’t be denied access to quality education provision because of the disastrous impact of partition.

“Equally important is the need to end the economic segregation within our schools. The evidence tells us that children from lower income backgrounds are twice as likely not to achieve the standard benchmark of five good GCSE’s. That is an intolerable situation and I applaud the Minister for his determination to end this blatant inequality.

“The plan he has set out today is an important step in doing so. If we are to embrace every child equally and maximise its potential in life then we have to think differently about how we deliver education. Enhanced sharing - and a genuine commitment to equality – will help ensure that our education system delivers for all children.”

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