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Educational cooperation on the island of Ireland : a thousand flowers and a hundred heartaches

By Andy Pollak


Cooperation and exchanges across the Irish border between schools, teachers and youth groups have seen an extraordinary growth in the past decade, involving nearly 20% of all schools on the island of Ireland in 2000. Major programmes such as the European Studies Project, Dissolving Boundaries and Civic-Link have been sustained over periods ranging from six to 18 years with the participation of hundreds of schools and youth groups in a range of programmes, with Wider Horizons (involving work experience abroad for mixed groups of young people) as the largest in scale. Medium-term sustainability is still a key issue, given most initiatives' dependence on non-exchequer funding (over 80% of funding comes from non-British or Irish government sources). Evaluations have spoken highly of the achievements of these programmes, both pedagogical and in terms of greater mutual understanding, but have also stressed that these are long-term initiatives, requiring secure funding and great patience and effort. Similar programmes to bring together young people in France and Germany after the Second World War took a generation to have a discernible impact

Topics: Ireland, Education, Cooperation, Exchange, Inter-school cooperation--Ireland, Inter-school cooperation--Northern Ireland, Educational exchanges--Ireland, Educational exchanges--Northern Ireland, Education--Ireland, Education--Northern Ireland
Publisher: University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies
Year: 2006
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    1. (2005). Evaluation of the Centre for Cross Border Studies. Armagh: Centre for Cross Border Studies; available [2006-04-14]
    2. (2004). Evaluation of the Education for Reconciliation (Phase Two) Project—Annual Report 2003-2004. Armagh: Centre for Cross Border Studies [unpublished report]

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