We, the people of Northern Ireland, demand an elevated prioritisation of integrated education for all our children.
This petition had 2,203 supporters
The Good Friday Agreement, the precursor to the seats of power that you hold, is 17 years old this year. Many pupils born in 1998 have passed through their entire educational journey still as segregated pupils, despite promises to “facilitate and encourage integrated education” as laid out in the agreement. This is the agreement that we, the people and your electorate, signed up to and yet we still see no concrete evidence of any real commitment to this issue from the assembly.
A 2013 poll carried out by Lucid Talk reveals that 79% of parents interviewed said they would back a move to transform their child’s school to integrated, while 66% of all people questioned believe integrated schools should be the main model of our education system. More than two-thirds said an integrated school best prepares children for living and working in a diverse society.
In these times of austerity we find it incredulous that our Assembly continues to waste such massive budgets on keeping our children segregated. Our dual education system is a shockingly wasteful practice and a drain on other vital services that you, as our servants, owe to us. It's time to start running the Assembly in a financially responsible way and that means saving money on the divisions we voted against in 1998.
When our children leave education they must live and work in a fully integrated society so why impose upon them a ludicrous and sectarian education system? We understand that tribalism is what got your parties to where they are now but this is 2015 not 1969.
We demand that the Northern Irish institutions no longer label our children according to religion, labels they are born into, not out of choice but by chance.
We demand that greater leadership and responsibility is shown towards encouraging integrated education by the Assembly, not just the lip-service we have seen to date.
We demand that better financial aid is afforded to integrated schools and that budgetary incentives be given to segregated schools to encourage them to become integrated.
We demand that no new segregated schools projects be given budgetary allowances unless good reason is given as to why they would perform better under division rather than inclusion.
We demand an end to segregated teacher training, a practice that only further entrenches the education of our primary and secondary pupils and is financially unviable as well as irresponsible with regards job opportunities. Let the best teachers educate our children on the basis of ability rather than religious persuasion.
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