Sinn Féin - On Your Side


17 September, 2007

Sinn Féin Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has highlighted to over 180 student teachers the critical role they can play in the lives of young people.

The Minister was speaking to incoming Post graduate certificate in education (PGCE) students at Queen's University, Belfast where she outlined the many changes taking place in education and the new challenges arising. She said: "The education system is going through many essential changes, from the streamlining of administration through the Review of Public Administration to the phased introduction of the revised curriculum. This is both an exciting and a challenging time to work in education."

The Minister said she was working towards a vision of having an education system that provided equality of opportunity for every child, irrespective of their background, gender or race.

The Minister acknowledged that falling rolls in schools meant a reduction in the number of teachers needed, and not everyone graduating would be guaranteed a job. She encouraged the students to be flexible in choosing their career path and said "In recent years, due to demographic change, we have fewer children in our schools and as a consequence, need fewer teachers in some areas. There are however areas where teachers are needed. We need qualified teachers in the Irish-Medium sector and more male teachers in primary schools. These, and other opportunities, can provide essential and rewarding careers for the future."

Ms Ruane highlighted to the students that the role of teachers had changed in recent years, due to the increasing diversity in schools and the emergence of new pressures on pupils and staff. She said: "I have heard first hand from teachers about the new challenges they face daily and can assure you of my support in helping to deliver an education system we can all be proud of. An education system that produces confident, creative, articulate young people able to take their place in the global community."

The Minister concluded by thanking the students for choosing teaching as their career and wished them all well for their future.

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