Schooling in Northern Ireland

Even before The Troubles “officially” began, there was a deep segregation in the schooling of children. When the Republic of Ireland formed, both churches refused to give up their own holds on their school systems, resulting in separate Catholic and Protestant schools. This can be attributed as a cause of The Troubles. Since 90% of the children in Northern Ireland grew up without ever talking or associating with people of the opposite religion, this could increase the hatred and uncertainty between the two groups of people. This is echoes of tradition established as far back as the late 1600s, when laws restricted Catholics from being educated in Ireland. This created a tradition of churches controlling schools which led to separation.

Segregation of schools causes children from a young age to be fearful of people from the other religion. By not allowing them to interact with the other group of people, in this case Ireland, the mystery and wonder that comes along with this typically will translate into negative views of the that group. Normally this causes anxiety because we fear the unknown. When looking at school desegregation round the world, there is proof that once the schools began desegregating, this anxiety lessened and lessened because in the minds of school kids, they are simply other children to play with. If we never allow this to happen, they will always think that the other group is bad.

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