Institutional Racism Report

Background to report on 'Institutional Racism in Education in Ireland'

Editors: Karl Kitching and Alicia Curtin (click on author names to access their research profiles)

In 2004, an Equality Authority/Department of Education and Science (DES) publication noted that the Equal Status Acts prohibit three forms of discrimination: indirect discrimination, discrimination by imputation and discrimination by association. However, if a school provision, practice or requirement indirectly puts someone at a disadvantage, a school may not be accused of indirect discrimination “if the provision is objectively justified by a legitimate aim and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary” (Equality Authority/DES 2004: 7).

Since then, the terms of key related documents: the 2007 Audit on Enrolment Policies, the 2010 National Intercultural Education Strategy, the 2012 Report of the Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism, and the 2012 Report of the International Review Group on Teacher Education, make at best surface reference to combating, or educating about indirectly racist patterns of discrimination in schools and other education institutions.

It is not known what the outcome of a new regulatory framework on enrolment might be. But we do know that the search for more ‘politically correct’ terms for ‘diversity and inclusion’ alone does not help change powerful mindsets, unequal institutions and dominating cultures.

The lack of problematisation of these complex issues in Irish social and education policy is of deep concern. The need to understand their specific shape in the context of Ireland is urgent. This document aims to further encourage and support such goals, as a critical story of the Racism and Education Conference and Networking Event held on Friday, 17th February 2012 in University College Cork

What does the report set out to do?

Using a social and cultural perspective on racism, power and education, the document provides:

  • a set of questions for ongoing public, policy-making and research debate.
  • a list of contemporary research on racism, power and education in Ireland
  • a list of currently available resources for schools.

Who is the report relevant to/how can I access it?

The publication and dissemination of this document was planned as part of a Irish Research Council funded ‘New Ideas’ proposal 2011-2012. Its intended audience includes education and social policy-makers, and education and community practitioners, as well as anti-racism activists.

Please click on the image on the right hand side of this page, or click here on Addressing the Concept and Evidence of Institutional Racism in Education in Irl to access the document in PDF format.

School of Education

Scoil an Oideachais

Leeholme, O' Donovan's Road, Cork, Ireland