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Young Scientist contributes to the future success of our young people - Ruane

4 September, 2008

Sinn Féin Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, today met with the CEO of BT Ireland Chris Clarke to discuss the all-Ireland young scientist awards.

The young scientist award is an all-Ireland competition with over 200 schools qualifying for the exhibition each year.

Minister Ruane said: "I visited the young scientist exhibition last year in Dublin and was very impressed by the projects on display. The young scientist award is an important and prestigious competition which encourages young people to learn through discovering solutions to problems facing their environment.

"Young people discover solutions as they learn in an innovative and untraditional way, their minds and perceptions are challenged and this is something I fully support. Under the 'Regional Innovation Strategy', my Department is contributing £25,000 towards the cost of the 2009 BT Young Scientist exhibition.

"The Exhibition provides an opportunity for our young scientists to show their talents and to demonstrate their creative and innovative skills in the Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) subject areas. It will also provide young scientists with the opportunity to meet their peers and discover the wider world of science and technology encouraging them to strive to be at the forefront of research and innovation in tomorrow's world."

The Department of Education and the Department for Employment and Learning are currently working with key industrialists, educational and public sector stakeholders to review STEM in schools and Further Education.

The Minister added: "I discussed how to ensure that more young people and more schools throughout Ireland can contribute and enter the competition, ensuring that schools from every sector get involved in entering and demonstrating their work at the exhibition.

"Successful economies are underpinned by a strong and steady supply of people with a range of qualifications in science and technology, working across a number of sectors. During the meeting we discussed how to encourage local and national businesses to build stronger links with schools and contribute to local work-related learning opportunities, helping young people gain work and life experiences and contribute to the economy.

"The importance of this type of competition and thinking is vital to encouraging students and young people to take science and technology subjects at second and third level education. BT should be congratulated for their ongoing commitment to local schools and promoting science and innovation in the classroom." ENDS

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