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  TESTIMONY FROM NORTHERN IRELAND

"I went to university at Queen's in Belfast, where two separate populations met for the first time. The students had often been close, geographically at home, but never met. Why? The school system had segregated them. This was because state schools in Northern Ireland were perceived as 'Protestant' schools, so Catholic children were sent to Catholic schools.
"To separate young children at school because of religion is as much anti equal opportunities as it is to separate them according to colour or culture. Isn't this against the spirit of an inclusive state education system?
"Surely the ethos of 'state' education ought to be that it transcends religious divisions. The beauty of a state system should be that it can hammer home the moral absolutes shared by all faiths with an interest in benefiting society and it allows children to learn about other faiths in an objective way."
 
 
- letter in The Guardian 11.4.00