The Ulster University report estimates that the economic cost of division and duplication within education is costing Northern Ireland £226 million each year, or over £600,000 every day. The report also outlines that the social costs of this division, whilst difficult to quantify, may be an even more important question.
“As this report highlights, division within education is coming at an unacceptably high social and economic cost,” said Ms Egan.
“In economic terms, it is damming that vital programmes including Healthy Happy Minds and the School Holiday Food Grant Scheme have been cut in recent weeks by the Department of Education whilst division costs Northern Ireland £226 million each year. At a time when there is so much pressure on public finances, the economic costs of division simply cannot be tolerated any longer.
“The social costs of educating our children separately are also stark. Alliance has always championed integrated education and in the last Assembly mandate, worked hard to introduce the Integrated Education Act. The demand for integrated education far outstrips the current provision and must be increased moving forward.
“To help build a united community, children should be taught together in a single, integrated education system that delivers equality of opportunity, so that every child can develop their unique ability, personality and potential.
“The time for transformation of our education system is long overdue and we need to see the restoration of an Assembly and a functioning Executive to tackle the challenge head on.”