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We must work together, Ruane tells Education Committee

18-05-2007

WE MUST WORK TOGETHER FOR OUR YOUNG PEOPLE,
RUANE TELLS EDUCATION COMMITTEE


Department of Education

Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has told the Assembly Education Committee that by working together, they can improve the education sector for the benefit of all children.

The Minister was addressing the first meeting of the Education Committee since restoration of the Assembly. Ms Ruane said; "A child's school years really have to be the best years of their lives. We must give them the best possible education, a broad stimulating education, letting them enjoy their youth and at the same time becoming articulate, confident and creative young citizens.

"The 340,000 young people in our education system represent the future of the North. Their potential, and the potential of education, to contribute to a stable and prosperous economy based on equality is immense.

"We know of the excellence in our education system and the great results many of our young people achieve. I do, however, acknowledge that much needs to be done for those who are not best served by our education system. Too many leave school without qualifications to equip them for work.

"The revised curriculum will provide schools with the opportunity to do a more vocationally orientated curriculum for young people aged over 14. I am very supportive of this broad direction. I would like to work with Sir Reg Empey at the Department for Employment and Learning and Nigel Dodds at the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment to see how best this can be developed.

"The NI Audit Office has highlighted the fact that 4000 young people leave our education system after 12 years without appropriate levels of literacy or numeracy. I recognise that this must be addressed urgently.

"We have many in our schools with learning disabilities who need better support and we will soon complete a major review of Special Education Needs. In addition, we have increasing numbers in our schools for whom English is an additional language."

Ms Ruane highlighted to the Education Committee that she was keen to listen to everyone with an interest in education, including the North South Ministerial Council and the British Irish Council. Doing so would help to inform the Minister in making decisions on key education policies. She said; "I am trying to listen to everyone with an interest in education, be it Teacher Unions, schools and the young people themselves. I am hearing many issues and I will want to consider these, and other views including those of the Education Committee, before I come to final solutions. Solutions that will best serve our young people."

 

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