Investing in a Better Future Report Provides Much Food For Thought

13 December 2023

The launch of the Independent Review of Education ‘Investing in Education‘ report today provided much food for thought. It contains several recommendations which I believe will help address endemic educational inequalities in NI.  It is welcome therefore that the Panel have referred to change within a Child Rights based framework.

AT NICCY we will take time to fully analyse the content of the report, but it is immediately clear that it is yet another call to action, to reform a system that needs urgent and radical change.

We need to move away from a narrative that describes children and young people simply as ‘learners’ who ‘will be equipped to contribute fully to the economy’.

The focus should instead be on promoting and safeguarding the rights of children and young people, delivered within the letter and the spirit of the UNCRC as set out in Articles 28 & 29 – i.e. on the provision of free and accessible education, a curriculum that develops young people’s personalities and talents so that they all realise their potential.

I welcome what I heard today with regard to rethinking exams and qualifications, particularly the idea of moving towards equivalency between vocational and academic subjects as well as addressing the transition between primary and post primary education.

While we all need to review this report, it is incumbent on all involved to take this opportunity to address and redress the failings in our education system. Our children deserve no less!