Educational Initiatives


Education for Mutual Understanding (EMU)

The remit of the Working Group on Education for Mutual Understanding stated the EMU should enable children to:

  • Learn to respect and value themselves and others;
  • Appreciate the interdependence of people within society;
  • Know about and understand what is shared as well as what is different about their cultural traditions;
  • Appreciate the benefits of resolving conflict by non-violent means.

EMU allows teachers a degree of flexibility. The Education and Library Boards have employed field officers to help with advice, funding and to generally co-ordinate resources and information. There are criteria, however, which insist on a degree of control over proposed projects that parents are aware of any projects and the project must be educational.

In its guide to teachers DENI set out stages by age and cite what a pupil should be able to comprehend at a given stage.Cultural Tradition

The remit of the Working Group on the cross curriculum theme of cultural heritage stated the aim of cultural heritage should enable school children:

  • To know about, understand and evaluate the common experience of their cultural heritage;
  • To know about, understand and evaluate the diverse and distinctive aspects of their cultural heritage;
  • To know about, understand and evaluate the interdependence of cultures.

Cultural Tradition

The Working Group also stated that cultural heritage should not focus on 'high culture' such as the arts but should also focus on what it called 'learned behaviour'.

Cultural heritage does not deal solely with Northern Ireland. It suggests, however, that it should deal with local projects at first and then extend the scope of the study to include all of Ireland, Britain, Europe and the rest of the world.

Inter-School Links

Between 1986-90 DENI founded an inter-schools links project. The project focused its experiment initially in one distinct area of Northern Ireland. It sought to establish structural links that would go beyond activities such as carol services.

It concluded that a properly structured system would allow some 44 hours of the school year for activities which would involve inter-school links. The authors estimated that to transmit this to a province-wide initiative would cost 1.39 million or 0.25% of the annual education budget. Inter-School Links

Inter-school contact had some considerable effect on pupils' perceptions. Results were gathered from the following groups of Protestant and Catholic pupils before and after inter-school contact.

The following screens show the questions and results of the survey.Inter-School Links

Q1. What identity label do you use for your country?

Q2. Who are the native people of Ireland?

Inter-School Links

The study also looks at parental opinions on the inter-school link project.

According to DENI in 1992 its Cross Community Scheme attracted applications from one third of all schools in Northern Ireland, some 450 to 500. Funding was approximately 850 000.


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