Letters to the Editor: ‘Tackling Educational Disadvantage’

Emma Taylor Posted by
emma@newrytimes.com
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) has been actively working on the issue of educational disadvantage, given the positive response so far from the voluntary and community sector and the seriousness of the problems; we are committed to continuing this work. With that in mind there are upcoming events in Newry (22 May) open to all those with an interest in education and increasing educational equality.

What has happened so far?

Concerned with the state of the education system in relation to educational disadvantage and on the back of the report (‘Educational disadvantage and the Protestant working Class: A Call to Action’) produced by the working group set up by former MLA Dawn Purvis. NICVA began investigating what action it could take and what role the voluntary and community sector could play in facilitating improvements to the education system. The response has been clear, the sector feels not enough has been done to tackle the issue and that the voluntary and community sector have a vital role to play in pushing the issue forward.

Why has it happened?

It is often voluntary and community sector groups who work first hand with the people the current system fails and who work inside an environment shaped by the inequality of that system. With this first-hand experience and passion, NICVA sees the potential for the sector to play a pivotal leadership role in lobbying government and educationalists to bring about the long needed changes required to improve educational equality.

What is happening next?

NICVA has committed to working further on this issue and in collaboration with the existing Working Group to present the views of the sector to both educationalists, the Department of Education and to the Minister. In order to gather a complete picture of the views of the sector and to insure that the lobby group selected to take the issues forward is representative of both NICVA membership and Northern Ireland as a whole, NICVA is facilitating discussions in Derry and Newry. These events will help finalize the issues and recommendations that the sector will take forward into proposed meetings with educationalists, the Department of Education and the Minister.

Sean Maguire


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