Education is the key to progress
Education is the key to moving our society forward, says Tony Gallagher in the latest Forward Together podcast interview. But that has to mean much more than encouraging as many students as possible to go to university and obtain a degree. Our society has become fixated with university education, at the expense of school pupils who do not aspire to higher education.
More has to be done to support children from deprived families, to encourage them through careers guidance and to promote aspiration. Support has to begin in children's early years, before they start attending school.
In order to provide a more inclusive education system, it is necessary that there is a better understanding of the experience of school pupils who do not go on to university, says Tony. He is frustrated at the lack of data collected on school leavers who do not choose an academic route - many of whom become alienated from the labour market. We know little about their progress through life, making it difficult to take the action necessary to assist them, or improve post-primary education for those who leave school without good qualifications or skills.
We need to reflect on the education system we have in Northern Ireland, including the extent to which schools co-operate with each other. It is essential that the learning communities that provide a wider subject choice at sixth form level work effectively.
The Holywell Trust Forward Together podcasts are funded by the Community Relations Council’s Media Grant Scheme.
What is Forward Together Podcast?
Gerard Deane and Paul Gosling host a series of interviews with the objective of promoting a wider, more inclusive and engaged conversation about how we make progress and further solidify peace and create a genuinely shared and integrated society in Northern Ireland. Holywell Trust is curating a discussion that is mutually respectful, forward focused and positive. The podcast considers the real challenges that Northern Ireland's society faces in the coming years and begins to arrive at practical and honest approaches to address these.