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Introduction

Brigid Murray
Adviser Environment & Society
02890 564054
brigid.murray@belb.co.uk

Community Relations, Equality and Diversity in Education (CRED)

What is CRED ?

Education has a key role to play in building a fair and prosperous society in Northern Ireland. We need to prepare children for living in an increasingly diverse society where citizens from all backgrounds are valued and where opportunities are open to all. The Community Relations, Equality& Diversity in Education Policy (CRED) was launched in March 2011. The main aim of the policy is to:

contribute to improving relations between communities by educating children and young people to develop self-respect, respect for others, promote equality and work to eliminate discrimination.

The Department of Education, through its Community Relations, Equality and Diversity policy and strategy, aims to ensure that every child in Northern Ireland, in the age range 3 to 25 in the education and youth sectors, should grow into adulthood

  • understanding and respecting the rights, equality and diversity of all;
  • having the skills, attitudes and behaviours that enable them to value and respect difference and engage positively within it;
  • confident in their ability to relate to others from different cultures;
  • skilled at engaging constructively in sensitive conversations, articulating their own views and beliefs and listening to others;
  • knowledgeable about their own cultural background and that of others in Northern Ireland;
  • recognising the rights of all as equal citizens;
  • prepared for a changing and diverse society in which confident adults engage, learn from and trust one another as members together of a shared society.
Environment and Society - Subject Areas

This area includes the subject strands of geography and history and it contributes to learning in a number of related areas: local and global citizenship, education for sustainable development and human rights. The subjects within the Environment and Society area share a common interest in the world around us.

There is no shortage of important issues, on both a local and global scale, that demand our understanding and problem-solving abilities ranging from environmental challenges such as global warming to local social and economic issues. The subjects within this learning area address many contemporary issues that are relevant to the lives of young people and which they wish to learn about.

The challenge for us as educators in the 21st century is to equip young people with the skills necessary to take their place in society as competent, active participants and to encourage young people to become informed and active global citizens who can respond creatively to a changing environment.

There follows an outline of the nature of each subject area and the skills and competences developed through the study of that subject.

Geography

Geography is the study of the world around us, the earth’s landscapes, peoples, places and environments.

Geography offers pupils opportunities to:

  • Develop a range of cognitive skills and key skills including numeracy, literacy, problem-solving, research
  • Engage in fieldwork and team-building activities
  • Acquire subject specific knowledge and specific skills e.g. map interpretation
  • Increase locational knowledge – where places are and how they are interconnected
  • Examine a range of case studies at local, national, European and global levels.
History

History is more than just learning about the past. In today’s classrooms, it is an exciting and dynamic subject that helps pupils understand the world in which they live. History equips them with the critical and creative thinking skills, the ability to solve problems and make decisions and the personal and interpersonal skills needed for life in the twenty-first century. History offers pupils opportunities to:

  • Learn about the past at local, national and global level
  • Develop a sense of chronology
  • Consider how the past influences the present and how they can influence the future
  • Appreciate the diversity of human experience and understand more about themselves as individuals and members of society
  • Analyse and interpret evidence and reach their own conclusions
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

What is Education for Sustainable Development?

Sustainable development education enables pupils to develop the knowledge, skills, understanding and values to make responsible decisions, at both local and global scales, about the environment. It asks young people to consider how quality of life can be improved without damaging the planet for future generations, and it encourages them to take personal actions, however small, to improve and sustain their environment. The Eco-Schools initiative is an action project in which schools may get involved. It addresses environmental and sustainability issues in a school context.

www.eco-schoolsni.org

The whole curriculum, but particularly Geography, science and citizenship offer many opportunities for pupils to develop their understanding of sustainability issues. The themes of sustainable development and environmental stewardship are highlighted in the new curriculum proposals. It is envisaged that ESD will be addressed through a cross-curricular approach.

Local and Global Citizenship

Local and global citizenship is an exciting and innovative area that helps students not only understand the world in which they live, but challenges them to create the type of world they would like to live in. Citizenship equips students with critical and creative thinking skills, the ability to negotiate and investigate contemporary issues and provides opportunities for young people to explore the challenges and opportunities of the world they live in and to take positive action.

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