Developing Social Cohesion through Schools in Northern Ireland and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: A Study of Policy Transfer
Transferring education policy from one country to another, or between supranational bodies and national administrations, is common practice, and the potential benefits for educational quality and standards are evident. Despite these advantages, the dominant approaches to policy transfer have been criticized for, among other things, neglecting contextual influences on policy and prioritizing the economic function of education over others. In this article, we consider an example of policy transfer for another purpose: to promote social cohesion through schools, specifically in societies that have experienced ethnic division and conflict. Focusing on the model of shared education, which promotes school collaboration and contact between pupils across ethnic or religious boundaries, we explore a process of policy transfer between Northern Ireland and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Drawing from documentary analysis, interviews with practitioners in both countries, and direct observational experience, we examine the purpose, nature, and impact of this case of policy transfer and identify what lessons can be shared with future education initiatives.