DUP MLA says integrated education bill would create ‘three-tiered system’ –

Date:

DUP MLA Diane Dodds

A member bill to promote integrated education in Northern Ireland would create a ‘three-tiered system’, approved by the DUP MLA.

Diane Dodds said the legislation proposed by MLA Kelly Armstrong was “unfair and unreasonable” because it forces Stormont to “prioritize one sector over all others”.

The Ministry of Education is responsible for promoting and promoting integrated education under current legislation.

Ms Armstrong’s bill proposes setting minimum targets for the number of children receiving an education in integrated schools, as well as providing funding to support the industry.

Currently only 7% of children in Northern Ireland attend school in a formally integrated sector.

Ms Dodds, a member of the assembly’s education committee, accused other parties of supporting the bill as an “election game” with the future of children’s education.

He warned that the bill would mean that Stormont must support integrated education “in a way that no other sector can benefit from”.

Upper Bann’s Anti-Money Laundering Act said, “This bill, if passed, would effectively create a three-tiered education system.

“He sees the integrated sector high, the Irish average in the middle, and the schools controlled/maintained.”

Referring to some points of the bill, he added: “This means that the Ministry of Education will give priority to one sector over all other sectors.

This is unfair and unjustified. My locally controlled school should not be deprived of a new building simply because it is not incorporated into the sector, even if its students represent all faiths and do not represent any religions.”

Ms Dodds called the bill “hasty” and said these issues must be addressed by the department through an independent review of Northern Ireland’s education system, which is just beginning.

He added, “There have been many complaints about the integrated education bill, but it is very clear that this law will not meet the lofty aspirations of breaking down barriers and tackling inequality in education.”

Ms Armstrong previously said her bill sought to “promote community cohesion and integrated school education by making effective choices for parents in Northern Ireland”.



Kelly Armstrong, MLA Alliance

“For years,” he said, “people criticized the amalgamated schools for being too few in number.

This limitation is due to the fact that there are not enough places for families who want to send their children to schools, which provide the education system not only with their opportunities, but also with the future that many of us want.

“The place where we celebrate who and what doesn’t matter to our culture, our religion, our social and economic background, and our opportunities.”

Aspects of the bill were criticized by representatives of the four major churches.

Gary Campbell, executive director of the Council of Catholic Schools, said the notion that only integrated schools can offer education to students from diverse backgrounds is “mostly flawed.”

Child Protection Commissioner Kula Yasuma told MLA he believes the bill is not trying to prioritize one sector over another “but is trying to level the playing field.”

Source: Belfastlive

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