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Education is reaching for the stars

10 September, 2008

Pupils were being encouraged to take up science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects when six NASA astronauts touched down in the North.

The six astronauts are on a two-day mission to motivate young people to have ambitions and fulfil their dreams. Schools in Newry, Coleraine, Carrickfergus, Derry and Dromore will hear first-hand how studying STEM subjects can lead to an exciting career in later life.

Speaking about the event, Sinn Féin Education Minister Caitríona Ruane said:

"The Department of Education has put £6,000 into bringing these remarkable men and women to the North of Ireland. I hope that by meeting the astronauts, pupils will be convinced to look seriously at taking STEM subjects and can see the real and tangible career opportunities there are in the field.

"While not everyone will become a NASA astronaut, there are many exciting and interesting career paths for pupils to choose from in areas such as civil engineering, television, medicine, entertainment, sports science, construction, mechanical engineering and astronomy."

It is widely recognised that for the economy of the North to grow and compete in an increasingly global market we will need to enhance the uptake of STEM subjects in schools. The Department of Education is committed to the promotion and development of STEM specialist schools and the development of more focused information, advice and guidance for STEM related careers.

Notes to Editors:

The Astronauts visited:

NEWRY: St Colman's College and St Paul's High School Bessbrook
COLERAINE: Loreto College and St Patrick's College, Maghera
CARRICKFERGUS: Carrick Grammar School and St Mary's Grammar School Magherafelt;
DERRY: St Mary's College and Lumen Christi
DROMORE: Dromore High School

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