Activities on the programme include joint good relations workshops and tours of The Nevin Spence Centre, Ulster Rugby's education and heritage facility, followed by values-based rugby sessions at the schools and culminating in celebration events at local rugby clubs.
The project, which was funded to the tune of £42,000, commenced at the end of October 2016 and will finish in March 2017, with the overall aim of improving relations, trust and respect across the religious divide through a rugby lens.
Commenting on the project, Junior Minister Ross stated:
'It is great to see first-hand the positive impact The Executive Office's Central Good Relations programme is making to childrens' lives. Over 1,800 young people from throughout Northern Ireland will participate in the 'Inclusive Rugby' programme, which brings schools from different backgrounds together to take part in activities and build relationships.
"Sport, especially rugby, can bring communities together, promote good relations and help the young people of Northern Ireland build a peaceful, multi-cultural and tolerant society. This is a fantastic project and I would like to thank Ulster Rugby for delivering it."
Commenting on the project, Junior Minister Fearon stated:
"It was a pleasure to meet with some of the children taking part in the Schools Twinning programme. These kind of initiatives help bring young people from different communities and traditions together, in an environment where they can form friendships.
"It is vital we eradicate division from our society and getting our young people engaging and learning from one another is very much welcomed.
"We must continue to support communities on this journey. That's why initiatives such as The Executive Office's Good Relations funding programme are so important. I firmly believe if we continue to engage and show willingness, we can, and will, change our society for the better."
Welcoming the awarding of the funding, Ulster Rugby Chief Executive, Shane Logan said:
"Now in its second year, the 'Inclusive Rugby' programme has been a great success for the schools and pupils involved and we are delighted that The Executive Office have continued to financially support this programme.
"Ulster Rugby is committed to using sport as a means of promoting social inclusion, good relations and community development and this programme showcases the ability of rugby to bring people together from different backgrounds. We look forward to developing the programme further for more schools and communities across the Province."