Citizenship Education in Northern Ireland: beyond national identity?
The introduction of citizenship education to the curriculum of all schools in Northern Ireland is one way of underpinning a long-term commitment to democratic politics as part of a fragile peace process. However, the concept of citizenship requires careful consideration in a society where there are different loyalties that give rise to conflict over the future constitutional status of the society itself. Neither British nor Irish national identity provides the basis for a 'patriotic' model of citizenship that could be accepted in all schools. This article describes the commitments and confidence-building measures contained in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and its implications for developing a concept of citizenship that might transcend the two main nationalisms that exist in Northern Ireland.
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