18 October 2001
The Centre for Cross Border Studies was commissioned by the Department of Education Northern Ireland and the Department of Education and Science in the Republic of Ireland to carry out a ‘scoping’ study of the current state of North/South school, youth and teacher exchanges, with recommendations on how such exchanges might be made more effective in the future. The research was carried out by a team led by the Centre’s director, Andy Pollak.
After the report of this study was finished in November 2000, it remained effectively in limbo for a year because the ban on Sinn Fein Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive meeting their Southern counterparts meant that the two Ministers of Education were not able formally to receive it. Because the material collected and analysed in the report was in danger of becoming out of date, the Centre, on advice from departmental officials, decided to hold a consultative conference with the people involved in North/South educational exchanges – officials, programme managers, principals, teachers, youth leaders, students and young people – to discuss some of its findings.