Compulsory Education in Lebanon, Northern Ireland and Macedonia
This chapter provides a historical and political background to the analysis of education reform in consociations. It traces the evolution of education systems in Lebanon, Northern Ireland and Macedonia, and summarises wider efforts to build nation-states before the establishment of the current consociations in 1989, 1998 and 2001, respectively. It also considers the Taif, Belfast and Ohrid Agreements and subsequent political developments in the three societies. A concluding section explains the political function of compulsory education during identity-based conflicts.
Education systems in Lebanon, Northern Ireland and Macedonia emerged in the context of inter-communal conflicts within contested states. As the territorial realities of controversial partitions crystallised, markers of identity evolved to reflect and frame political conflicts, and communal belonging came to be conflated with specific political attitudes and national aspirations. Markers of identity and belonging, myths of the past and loyalty (or opposition) to the state were at the core of the three conflicts. Schools, as sites of definition, legitimation and reproduction of language, ideology and historical narratives, emerged as symbolic (and at times physical) ‘battlegrounds for the hearts and minds of the next generation’.1
© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017 G. Fontana, Education Policy and Power-Sharing in Post-Conflict Societies, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-31426-6_3