The BIG headline in the local press reads :
“HUGE INEQUALITY CRISIS FOR PROTESTANT PUPILS…”
It’s finally filtered down to the local politicians and the parochial press too ,that there is something somewhat imbalanced in the numbers of Protestants and Catholics doing well in higher education .We’ve already heard about this in relation to inner -city Belfast but apparently the virus has spread across the countryside ,unabated. For Protestants and Catholics , it being Norneverland , we are asked to understand that the reference is actually alluding to Unionists and Nationalists. It also being Norneverland, the newspaper article being printed in a parochial weekly , for cross-community sale and consumption , there is precious little meat hanging on the bones of the feature . At best it is a brief sketch, leaving the readers to fill in the blanks from their own fund of backstory and colloquial reference or from their imagination. As His Bobness ,Mr Dylan might chuckle,” ….nothing is revealed”.
In other words the stuff we already know from many years of discussion across the land’s larger periodicals and televisual debates has finally landed in the headlines of the country- folks jungle drums or their equivalent and the publishers want to harvest the pounds and pennies from all the pockets across the great divide without offering any offence that might stymie the flow from any section. That said , the publication , now part of the Alpha Group ,is known to have always been a unionist voice with past political connections to businessman and retired Ulster Unionist politician Lord Kilclooney (John Taylor). He may well yet hover as an influence in its background like some éminence grise, for all I know. Nothing is ever simple.
Unionist politicians have awoken to the fact that their potential voters are not being properly educated and they have fallen into the usual default position that someone or something is getting one over on them somehow.This unionist collective reckons that If it’s happening to their children alone , there has to be someone besides themselves ,to blame , surely and it’s usually them dang Catholics who fit that particular profile. Lined up to scratch their heads and sign their names to a declaration of intent are the following worthies; Danny Kennedy MLA, William Irwin MLA, councillors Sam Nicholson, Paul Berry, Jim Speers, Freda Donnelly , Gareth Wilson and Gordon Kennedy.
None of these individuals , barely known for their literary-minded deftness or giants of intellectual heft have ever mentioned anything like this before;possibly in discussion behind tightly closed doors , but certainly not for public consumption ;but they now declare:
“Equality of opportunity and access to excellence in education are the birthright of every young person in our society , regardless of religion , social class or political persuasion”
I know that the irony of this statement is that it’s like something straight out of the Civil Rights Movement manifesto of the 1960s ,which none of these worthies, their acolytes , or their compadres would ever deign to support and actually attacked statements such as this at every move….. either politically or physically. If truth be told, the paucity of an educated footfall on the streets was their very bread and butter and political collateral. They have always needed an unthinking ,emotionally incontinent and uneducated public to vote their policies into power in the past .It’s how Paisley filled halls; it’s how they got marching boots such as the UDA on the streets to threaten real democracy.Now ,in this new all-political disposition unionism has suddenly put a value on education.
It appears that local Protestant students are less likely to achieve an A level qualification by as much as over thirty per cent, than similar Catholic students . There are obviously figures to back up this claim and uunionist politicians want to hammer out a solution to the problem, possibly by somehow boosting sixth-form provision for Protestant children in the area.Then there are new incoming immigrants and their children to consider too.More space and more places are suddenly needed for all these new face too.
For some reason unionist politicians have only now awoken from a slumber to realise that Catholic schoolchildren have better access to to sixth form education.
Lest we all forget that these same politicians are in election-mode and have to be seen to be doing something and are obviously thrashing about for soundbites and promises of future intent. Nobody ever said that a politician had be necessarily intellectual or educated , of course ,and many might even see those particular cap-feathers as something of a drawback when a notion of the “common-man” has to be projected to potential voters ,but there is also obviously a late realisation that another train has already left the station and unionism isn’t on it.Mind you we are still awaiting movement on Danny Kennedy’s deliberations and promises regarding a particular local train-link anyway , when transport was in his remit. So far his promises on that score have come to nothing, so it doesn’t bode well on this new push for better education.
Now might be a good time for Protestants and Unionists to ask themselves just why Catholic (Nationalist) school children are outperforming their Protestant (Unionist) counterparts for some fifty years and just why that is a reality across the land .Are these children smarter? Are their teachers better and more skilled ? Or is it possible that they all have a greater inherent drive to succeed through educating their minds , instilled in them for generations ,going back over a hundred years and more? I am no expert on the education system in Norneverland but the facts are there for all to see. Someone has got it right here and someone has got it diametrically wrong .These points just never seem to be mentioned or logically discussed in anything like a frank manner.
Maybe its stems from the fact that in norneverland the young protestant leaving school was more or less guaranteed a job for life in the past and this trend has passed from generation to generation. But obtuse unionists would of course refute this theory because there never was any discrimination of any sort in the past and how dare you imagine it! So it goes on the other side that an education and emigration was the generational lot for young Catholics. And while this has largely evened off the legacy could well be being felt now.
Well for one its not in the unionist interest to have have young protestants educated. The more they are educated the less unionist they become!
That is all very well when related to past times, I would imagine.It is a fact that it is twenty years with comparative normality and youngsters mixing a little more socially in many areas….so why is there still this difference? Many pass through the local technical college and are mixed…socialise together too…as my daughter’s did and many go on to further education.Why is this imbalance still apparent if the Primary school education is similar and the children continue with much the same exam expectations.,Is it the parents lack of passion and push simply going from one generation to the next or do the kids simply not want the education or lack the necessary curiosity for knowledge and new ideas?
It should be noted that while Catholic pupils do well overall we still have a good number that leave school with no qualifications and poor levels of numeracy and literacy.
If we become complacent the Catholic community could end up with the same problems.
That is exactly my point Bdan..What exactly is the driver here.? Is it religious…political…. Social….laziness…lack of ambition….lack of academic curiosity…lack of imagination… A Genetic difference?…a cultural oddness? Why is there such a differentiation at all in the here and now? We all live in the same place and feel the same rain on our faces….so why the difference?
A bit of knee-jerk prejudice is always fun but there’s a hole in this theory that prods didn’t need to study in the days of The Orange State because of their guaranteed jobs and that they’ve been deliberately kept in ignorance to ensure their susceptibility to demagoguery.
The main problem with that theory is that Catholic pupils only achieved parity with Protestants in 1987.
Could there be other, less satisfyingly sectarian, reasons for the relative decline in Protestant schools. The brain drain of graduates from Protestant areas sending a generation of the middle class to GB. At a more local scale the hollowing out of places like East Belfast into the suburbs of places like North Down and Ards. Then there’s the different cut off points that Catholic and State Grammars have as State Grammars have more available places. Do these changes leave State secondaries with a less academically orientated intake and does that affect the overall culture in the school?
Majority Minority Review 1
Education and Religion in Northern Ireland
by A M Gallagher (university of Ulster)
Section 6: Pupil Performance
Figure 6.1 presents the relative performance of boys and girls leaving Catholic grammar schools compared with boys and girls leaving Protestant grammar schools for 1971, 1975, 1982, and 1987. At this level of performance the graph indicates that the relative performance of boys leaving Catholic schools wAS slightly lower in 1971, about equal in 1975 and slightly higher in 1982 and 1987, as compared with boys leaving Protestant schools. By contrast, the relative performance of girls leaving Catholic schools was very much lower in 1971, slightly lower in 1975 and slightly higher in 1982; in 1987 the proportion of girls leaving Catholic grammar schools with one or more A Level passes was equal to that of girls leaving Protestant grammar schools.
Overall, figure 6.1 suggests that among grammar school leavers the proportion of leavers from Catholic schools with one or more A Level passes had been lower than that of leavers from Protestant schools in 1971, but by 1987 a position of relative parity had been achieved.
The pattern displayed by the figure 6.4 is quite clear: although it should be borne in mind that the extent of unqualified school leaving overall has declined, the relative extent of unqualified leaving is greater in Catholic schools. Furthermore, this gap between the religious school systems widened up to 1982 and had only narrowed slightly by 1987. This poorer relative performance for Catholic school leavers is greatest among boys in secondary schools.
Interesting contribution, BYC. But “the hollowing out of places like East Belfast into the suburbs of places like North Down and Ards” – how does that relate to Protestants and educational achievement?
Well Jude, if the flip side of suburbanisation is a residual population that’s lost part its middle class, and that’s multiplied with academic selection we get city schools that have a greater percentage of free school meals and children who didn’t take that transfer test or had a lower relative marks than in previous years.
If that leaves us with some city schools where it’s harder to get students to think they can be academic successes or where there isn’t a culture of expectation that’s going the affect results. I’ve heard the headmistress of Ashfield Girls’ say that she spends the first year of a girl’s secondary education trying to rebuild (or build) self-esteem. And Ashfield’s a great school.
For suburbanisation to affect State schools more than Catholic schools we’d have to see more Protestant families moving out of traditionally protestant urban locations (like east Belfast) to the suburbs than Catholics. North Down and Ards, with 157,000 people in the new council area, now has a bigger population than the City of Derry and Strabane, with 148,000. That’s a lot of growth and it came from Belfast. You could demolish half the
Newtownards and Shankill Roads for dereliction.
So, trying to answer Harry’s question – I don’t think there are religious, cultural or even school ethos reasons for the comparative success of catholic schools although like all good bureaucracies the CCMS would obviously like to pitch it that way. If there were they’d have applied before 1987. I think it’s more likely that there are more mundane social and demographic reasons to do with deindustrialisation and population migration.
I don’t think the reality’s going to disturb anyone’s bias though. Ben’s done a whole colourful blog on the wrong-headed premise that prods didn’t need to study because they had got the jobs anyway. If people are presented with new facts I’m sure they’ll adjust their theories in whatever way is required to keep their prejudice intact.
Th fact remains that Catholic schools have caught up with their state/protestant counterparts, BYC and are outshining them in many educational areas. This has been happening for some decades now and Catholics have shown that they are very much the equal if not better than their protestant counterparts in terms of educational and occupational achievement. The long history of shameful discrimination against the earlier generations of nationalists in the north in jobs, housing etc.and preferment for protestants have helped to create the false stereotype that Catholics were feckless and did not want to be educated. Education has long been at the heart of the Catholic ethos and it has borne much good fruit in the northern part of Ireland despite the hostility it had encountered from the powers-that-be.
“Outshining’s” a stretch. In the 2015 DoE bulletin 99.7% of state grammar A level pupils passed 2 A levels. In the Catholic sector it was 99.6%. 76.2% of state Grammar pupils passed 3 A levels at A-C. In Catholic schools it was 80%. That 1 in 26 more pupils in the Catholic school. And it’s the girls making the difference. Amongst boys there was only a 1.9% difference (73.7% is state schools, 75.6% in Catholics schools). So you catholic boys are just as thick as the lazy prods.
At the other end of the spectrum 96.3% of children taking A levels at non-grammar state schools passed 2 A levels and it was ONLY 95.9% in catholic schools. OMG!
There’s no difference between the kids. The only differences in outcome are to do with other structural factors, mix of pupils, availability of exams. making kids learn their catechism in schools time doesn’t make them better at physics.
But if you want to get excited about these slivers of difference you work away.
“Then there’s the different cut off points that Catholic and State Grammars have as State Grammars have more available places. Do these changes leave State secondaries with a less academically orientated intake and does that affect the overall culture in the school?”
Therein may lie the answer. The Protestant population had declined and the RC population has increased yet the relative number of grammar schools has remained largely unchanged.
Apart from not needing an education to get a job in industries that no longer exist and hoping that Uncle Harry in the Lodge would sort something out, protestant children also mentioned: a gap (which often they were unable to bridge ) between what was taught in schools about the wonders of the UK and Empire and what they actually saw in NI society: drugs and paramilitaries, sectarianism and racist intimidation that permeated practically all aspects of their lives (which they were sometimes unable to come to terms with), given what they were taught about british values of tolerance, respect, live and let live etc.
These interior conflicts between appearance and reality often impacted on their school performance.
Education arguments aside, I also suffer from living in a rural area in which an Alpha Group ‘newspaper’ represents the main source of local news. I find it quite incredible that a newspaper which ostensibly covers such hot topics as cake sales and potholes in the road can still operate with such a divisive, one-sided agenda. Some of the shite they print would make Rupert Murdoch blush.
I’ve often thought that if Máirtín Ó Muilleoir really wanted to make a difference, he’d put together a consortium and buy out ‘Lord’ Kilcooney and offer local newspapers which accurately represent the demographics here. Alpha Newspapers as they currently stand are utterly poisonous.
“A bit of knee-jerk prejudice is always fun but there’s a hole in this theory that prods didn’t need to study in the days of The Orange State because of their guaranteed jobs and that they’ve been deliberately kept in ignorance to ensure their susceptibility to demagoguery.”…you say BYC.
There may not be so much truth in it some twenty years after the Good Friday Agreement but there was still a truth in it some forty or fifty years ago…. when jobs in major industries were open to Protestants, not by education, but by dint of their forefathers who worked there…by their cultural references ….and not by any other unique qualifications. They were assured of a job because their fathers expected them to follow their lead and have one as they had followed their own fathers before them .It kept money flowing through the same families. Years later many of those major industries have moved to other lands, leaving not just Ireland but the UK ,depleted, but it’s a fact that something like the Ballylumford Power Station was a key factor in the 1974 Ulster Workers’ Council strike some forty two years ago. Supplying all of Belfast and most of the eastern half of the country, Northern Ireland was effectively brought to a standstill when the mainly Protestant workers of the plant were persuaded to join the strike. The closure of the plant together with the wider strike resulted in the collapse of the Sunningdale Agreement…Now that’s grouping and using the predominantly Protestant workforce in one powerful (!) industry to twart democracy, every bit as much as the original UVF similarly twarted democracy back at the beginning of the 20th century by importing arms from Germany and pursuing treason against the government and the King.
There is only one way to progress and earn those remaining jobs and that is to compete with education and qualifications. There’s a bottom line even for interview which requires a minimum level of qualification s on the CV to even get a look-in. Job candidates are whittled out right at the start and consigned to a slush pile.There are even techniques to learn as to how a CV should be presented.
Even with all of that in place ,educated Protestants and Catholics in many cases are choosing to leave this place because the jobs pool is limited and there is also the conservative and twisted nature of the place compared to life elsewher in the UK or in the wider world .Two of my daughters used their education to leave for further education and then for work and a more cosmopolitan life in Liverpool and London.
It is known that boys across the board, both Protestant and Catholic are doing less well than girls in further education and there are many theories as to why that is , but what are the current theories as to why Protestants both male and female are doing less well in further education in the here- and- now of the 21st century? It can’t simply be put at the feet of a disturbed society, now some twenty years post -agreement, when this generation has grown up and lived in comparative peace. Not everyone lives in the Peace-Walled ghettoes of Belfast after all…where tension is ramped up annually on a cyclical basis from one Marching Season to the next.. This piece concerns those Protestant children who are now non-achieving in smaller country towns across the land , after all. Why is this so?What is the root cause of this failure?
My point was that (accepting your point about historic employment opportunities for the sake of argument) when the prods had the jobs they also had the better grades. Catholic kids only reached parity in 1987. So that doesn’t fit with the idea of a complacent community sitting idle at school while the hard working catholic kids pull themselves up by their bootstraps.
The Armagh scenario just seems to be a lack of sixth form provision for secondary school children. I think that’s dealt with in my point below. Too few academic achievers in the secondary sector as they’re hoovered up to fill empty grammar places, coupled with some bad planning for education provision and maybe a lack of aspiration all round.
Also BYC …I was interested by your line ….
“I’ve heard the headmistress of Ashfield Girls’ say that she spends the first year of a girl’s secondary education trying to rebuild (or build) self-esteem. And Ashfield’s a great school.”….
I find it interesting because how is their self-esteem any different to any other child’s self-esteem and how does that relate to the difference between Catholics and Protestants or even Muslims , Atheists or Jews. ? Why should a Protestant child’s self -esteem be a factor at all? Most teenagers of any persuasion have a whole raft of issues to contend with as they grow to adulthood.In that respect it’s a thoroughly level playing -field.It has been mentioned , of course that girls are generally more emotionally adept earlier than their male counterparts.Are you saying that Catholic pupils have greater self-esteem …and why would that be?
I suppose I am up to a point Harry.
Ashfield is a girls’ state secondary school. It is in East Belfast. Because of differential birth rates and I expect some other factors including population movements within NI and between NI and GB there are a larger number of places available in Northern Irish State Grammar schools that NI Catholic Grammar schools. This means that both Grammar Schools and Secondary Schools have a lower average primary academic attainment than catholic schools.
That’s not because overall Catholic primary children are brighter – it’s just what happens when you split equally distributed populations differently. Let’s supposed we have ten kids and they get 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 in their exams. If you split them in 50/50 the average of one group is 3 and the average of the other group is 8. Split them into 70% bottom and 30% top and the averages are 4 and 9. So – if this happens in our schools – as it does – both the Catholic Secondary and Catholic Grammar streams appear to have brighter pupils on average – and will probably show better average results than their state peers – because of the different allocation of average pupils. That doesn’t mean they are though – it could just be the effect of differently weighted averages.
But, outside the arithmetic – there’s an obvious effect on school moral. If this filtering out of average pupils is happening more in State secondary schools because of excess Grammar places – which it is – then in the State secondary school a greater proportion of children will be less academically able. If you compound that with the effect of middle class families leaving an area you will have some secondary schools in urban areas which appear particularly challenged. That has to change the nature of the school and I was just pointing out that rebuilding aspiration (and self-esteem) has been stated as particularly challenging by at least one city state secondary school principal. So my point is about the character of the school and the effect of academic selection and social segregation on kids generally.
I’m not making a sectarian point, though you seem to have received it that way. I’m trying to make the opposite.
That’s good BYC…well explained. no , i’m only asking questions in the hope that someone such as yourself can come up with ideas and answers. We all know the history of this place is full of mythology, paranoia and fear ….on all sides ,but I was trying to tease out the logic of just how we got to these current positions and the various theories folk might have .
The indigenous population had no alternative but to work at getting an education because, although the heavy industry in Greater Béal Feirste was withering, the all pervasive,mostly Protestant, “Security” industry was growing from strength to strength. I knew of a rural farming family of five sons and one daughter who, as well as the parents, were in the yeomanry in some lucrative capacity. Most people are blissfully unaware of the settlements handed out when the smell became too unbearable and our masters decided to disband said ‘security’ forces. Then Lawdy, Lawdy weren’t they all re-enlisted in the shape shifters. Unbelievable.
I remember in the early fifties the euphoria of sitting the Qualifying exam. A Protestant friend, when I asked was he sitting the exam said No when I am 14 I am going into the Shipyard as tea boy and at 16 I will begin my trade. So he says “what do I need to go to College for. I have a job for life.
Sadly this seems to be the same attitude today, although there are no jobs for life or even jobs for some.
I sometimes wonder about why their Loyalism is so important, it is in the home the problem lies not in the classroom.I also think the better off Unionist families ensure their children are educated.
I do wonder sometimes about the children of creationist parents ( I’m not being mischievous) and how they react to much of the science teaching in Protestant schools. I mean a fairly large percentage of DUP ministers are of a creationist turpitude. Are they told to challenge their science teacher when he refers to anything older than 10,000 years? That’s pretty restricting. Like, ‘sorry sir but dinasaurs were roaming the earth with men and women between 6 and 10k years back and that carbon dating stuff is all atheist claptrap. Then we have their issues with theatre and the old chestnut McCausland likes to burnish about it all being a taig-ridden conspiracy against them. And why don’t they have more plays about the Orange order? Maybe if one of them wrote one, that might help. It seems to be all about motor bikes and drums for a significant proportion of them. A people apart.
I think you really are being mischievious, Freddie …and why not ? I find the kind of philistinism that you describe as being the very antithesis of the term “education”.What is education ,if not the inquisitive search for pure knowledge? if a parent is filling a child’s head full of arrant unproven nonsense from birth , well you might almost call it child -abuse. If the available scientific knowledge of the world and the universe has been gradually gleaned by careful intellectual study over many observable and tested events, why should it not reveal the intellectual truth and why should we be in awe to the cant of all the religious teachings which amount to magic on a level with the Wizard of Oz….smoke ,mirrors , fear and fantasy….no better than stage magic performed by a good prestidigitator.
“Faith” of any kind is an unprovable belief and should remain a private fantasy to its various adherents , whereas knowledge of reality and our place within it should be left to the available teachings.They are two very separate things but the confusion begins at the hearth at home and leads to the confusion which gives us these quaint beliefs which are based on the literal reading of ancient poetic texts ,confusing some to actually believe that our earth is much younger than it actually is and confuses our actual origin story arc with well-ingrained fantasy storylines. The horror of it is that many in our society in positions of some political and religious power also hold these anomalous and childish notions to be true, even when they grow to adulthood .
Its really simple to work out why Catholics do better than Protestants at Education:
1. There is far greater emphasis put on education by the Catholic community than Protestant. For generations due to discrimination Protestants could just walk into a job, a Catholic couldn’t. Catholics had to have as much educational clout as they possibly could to get a job. Now that the playing field is level and fair, Catholics are much more suitable and educated for jobs than Protestants.
2. There is little respect for educational attainment within the Protestant Community in general, especially in the lower classes. This is due to the older generations, again because they could easily get a job and thought education was a waste of time. This was passed onto the younger generation. Even whilst in prison, Loyalist paramilitaries didn’t take education seriously whilst Republicans were going through degree after degree, my relative did 2 or more degrees whilst in prison. The man who tried to kill Gerry Adams, nicknamed “Grug”, said he ditched his degree in prison because “it was too republican”…..
3. The Protestant youth of today aren’t encouraged by Unionist politicians to engage in education. Indeed there’s a legacy of Unionist politicians wanting to stop Protestants educating themselves. More emphasis is put on Bonfires, Parades and Orange culture than education. A flag being reduced to designated days is of far more importance to Protestant youths than austerity and cuts. But they are the way they are because they were shaped that way. After reading Susan McKays “Northern Protestants”, I learnt that the Protestant community is very hierarchical. Presbyterians are generally looked down upon. Church of Ireland (ironically called the reformed CATHOLIC church) is seen as the “Elite”. If your an Orange man you get a leg up in terms of jobs, etc. If your an Orange man and a member of the Masonic then you are viewed as higher than an Orange man. And if your an Orange man, a Mason and in the Black Perceptory then you are amongst the most powerful in Ulster Protestantism. Jobs such as Executives, CEO’s and Directors were reserved for such people. Its a pyramid structure, the guys at the top like Paisley, Trimble, etc and those behind the scenes didn’t want the Protestant youth educated, they were to know their place and stay in it.
Another element to why Catholics do better at education is that Catholic schools are by far the best here. I remember watching a documentary on Channel 4 a few years back about English parents desperately trying to get their kids into elite schools. Catholic schools were the most popular but places were limited. Many English parents even converted to Catholicism, had their kids learn Catholic prayers fluently and the History of the Catholic in order to stand a greater chance of success when enrolling…..
Thousands of parents transferred their children from public to Catholic schools in Boston in the sixties in Boston when busing was introduced to desegregate public schools. Suddenly the catholic “ethos” became important where it hadn’t been before. Nothing to do with religion – catholic schools were just a refuge for racism. Same in London.
BTW – just dealing with your “very simple” explanation
1. “Protestants could just walk into a job, a Catholic couldn’t”. Until 1987 Catholic school results lagged behind state schools. See above. So you’ll have to adjust that bit of analysis. How about some alternative but equally sectarian theories;
You could try “Catholics had no motivation to study until they were assured fair employment through 1976 Act”
or if you’re indulging your IRA = ANC fantasies “Catholics were too busy fighting a revolutionary war against an oppressive Orange State to waste time studying”.
Or we could flip it “Catholic families were altogether too fecund for parents to give children proper attention until they started shrinking down to a more manageable prod sized family proportions”
See. No need to temper your prejudice to fit the facts Ryan.
2. “There is little respect for educational attainment within the Protestant Community…“Grug”, said he ditched his degree in prison because “it was too republican””. Jesus. You’ve based your assumptions about a whole community on an assassin who didn’t study in prison. Has it ever occurred to you that, misguided as it might be, the Unionist/SF dispute over academic selection shows something about each community’s priorities; excellence in the unionist community; equality amongst republicans. Who were the engineers that dragged this city’s docks out of the sea bed and built its industries? What churches do you think people like Dunlop, Ferguson, Andrews and Kelvin attend? Hey! There’s another one. Maybe Catholic schools only do better because everyone’s studying wet taigy things like Divinity and Irish instead of big boy prod things like Chemistry and Physics.
Mike Nesbitt, Nelson McCausland, Nigel Dodds all went to Cambridge. And they’re the dumbest people the unionist community has.
3. Paisley was, and Trimble is, Presbyterian. How are they “at the top” in this weird hierarchical protestant world of yours.
There’s no difference between catholic and protestant children and families Ryan. Your “simple analysis” is a disgrace to the republican principles you say you believe in.
Well Ryan , I too read Susan McKays “Northern Protestants” book years ago when it was first published and it did seem to be from an insider’s perspective.It was pretty damning stuff, I have to agree.It certainly didn’t throw a good light on Norneverland Protestantism. I wonder is it all still as relevant now when there are so many checks and balances in place in our local society and in the job market. Can an Orangeman still get preference whether or not he has the qualifications or would his membership shade it for him in a tie?
I know that there is too much backwoods fantasy , creationism , anti-knowledge , anti-scientific discovery ,anti-modernism , homophobia and all the rest, in the mix ,but surely there are some who wish to embrace education in its fullest sense and drift away from that kind of nonsense. There’s probably some of that bullshit within the Nationalist community too…maybe not to the same degree, but there all the same. That’s what education is really about….getting underneath all that nonsense.
I ‘ve also read that Nationalists in gaol went for education while their counterparts on the Unionist side embraced body-building instead.If that is the case in reality across the land the future looks dire for everyone but the reality on the streets isn’t quite the same.My daughters had both Protestant and Catholic boyfriends in their teenage years and there wasn’t much difference in their educational attainments or ambitions .They were the usual mix of academically -minded or otherwise . They drank in the same bars in town during their teens …doubtless partying wherever they could… and went on to further education in Belfast and in England. Maybe that wasn’t the norm across the land and maybe religion and politics weren’t such a big factor in their lives .With me as a parent , my daughters weren’t going to get religion shoved down their throats. They all came to my home,( cleared the fridge, as teenagers will do!)They watched videos together and ate meals …the usual stuff.. They were able to mix as friends without rancour and still do in their late twenties and thirties when they meet again when all home together .In fact I was out with a lot of those same young adults during the Christmas holidays just past….still promising to buy me that drink!!!
Now none of that might be what is expected as the typical Norneverland scenario, but it’s what I know on a personal basis..
If you had any evidence to back up any of your point, people might be interested in them.
I was replying to Ryan. I hit the ‘reply’ button at Ryan’s post.
I wouldn’t get too arrogant concerning catholic run schools. If they were doing what some allege they do I.e creating mini republicans, then there should be a stampede for Irish unification? Alas in my experience all I see is mini letsgetalongerists being fired out and dumbed down to accept the status quo. Catholic run schools are there to maintain the influence of the Vatican sin é. There’s no way the church will give up the cosy wee set up they have here north and south. I would like to hear them say it though. Alas they are too busy arranging school trips to Lourdes to comment. No trips to kilmainham jail,GPO etc are advised!