TWO Magherafelt companies have taken part in a major shared education conference backed by the International Fund for Ireland and the Atlantic Philanthropies.
Members of the Primary Integrating Enriching Education Project and Cinemagic Reel Frontiers Project took part in the Lisburn conference which heard
calls for the Education Minister to ensure all classrooms gain from the International Fund for Ireland’s £18 million Sharing in Education Programme.
Launched in 2008, the programme has piloted 22 projects that promote sharing and reconciliation and which span all levels of formal education from early years through to teacher training and development.
Speaking at the Sharing in Education Programme Conference, International Fund for Ireland Board Member, Billy Gamble, said: “The Fund has made a massive investment in shared education projects sponsored by the Department of Education. Pupils, teachers and communities have all benefited from the support. It’s now time for the Department of Education to step up to the plate and support these types of interventions as part of their commitment to a genuine shared future.
“If we have learned one thing from our troubled past it is that children who learn together grow together. The breadth, depth and texture of this programme needs to be part of the DNA of education delivery.”
The Sharing in Education Programme has received positive appraisals from the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) and an Interim Evaluation Report in June 2012 said that: “Learners of all ages are benefiting from the programme.”
The report also stated: “Through the significant funding of the IFI, the projects have been able to engage in more in-depth learning with sensitive and controversial issues around peace and reconciliation at a greater pace than would have been possible without that funding.”
In the current Programme for Government (PFG) the Executive has committed to ensuring ‘all children have the opportunity to participate in shared education programmes by 2015’. A Ministerial Advisory Group is due to present recommendations on how best to advance shared education in the forthcoming weeks.
To find out more about the Sharing in Education Programme visit: http://www.internationalfundforireland.com/building-integration`