Karin Fischer
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Concluding comments focus on the contradiction between new teaching contents and approaches that strive to take into account changing Irish realities and open paths for sociocultural reconfiguration and educational structures inherited from the past that privilege communal (especially religious) interests over equal rights. Political responses based on ‘majority’ rights at different levels are shown to be at odds with republican ideals and democratic values. The dominant political ideology in the Republic of Ireland has contributed to perpetuating communal hierarchies and widespread discrimination in the existing school system, rather than striving towards equal citizenship for all and respect for freedom of thought, conscience and religion as a basic individual human right. The conclusion finally places Irish realities and debates within the context of international debates on the place of religion in school, school segregation, secularity, human and cultural rights and intercultural education. It traces the concept of interculturalism back to Canada in particular, showing that there are striking parallels in the field of education policy between the recent history of Quebec and the current Irish situation.

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