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Irish medium language vital for Education system

10 September, 2008

Sinn Féin Education Minister Caitríona Ruane has said that Irish Medium Education is a vital contributor to our education system.

Speaking on Monday at the Irish Medium Education Convention in the Clarion Hotel in Dublin, the minister said:

"There is much excellent work being done across the Irish medium education sector, work that I would like to see continued and expanded. By working on an all-Ireland basis, we can learn from each other and share best practice in the interests of pupils. The North of Ireland has a particularly dynamic Irish medium sector and we have a lot to offer.

"Children can benefit greatly from learning another language; it can improve confidence, self-esteem and motivation to learn. I have introduced the Primary Languages Programme across the North of Ireland where pupils can learn Spanish or Irish through skilled tutors who work alongside classroom assistants and teachers. The programme has been embraced by over 280 schools and I intend to expand the initiative even further. By getting these chances in early life, we are teaching our children that there are many opportunities and possibilities available to them.

"This conference focuses on immersion education, something which I am very passionate about. There are many advantages to immersion education and it is proven to be the most effective way of learning the Irish language through maximum exposure to it.

"I am currently considering a review of Irish medium education in the North. This review will play an important part in ensuring that Irish medium education is fully and appropriately supported as an integral part of the education system in all schools; primary, post-primary, English and Irish medium. I will be making the recommendations of the report public in the future and look forward to using it as the starting point for an engaging debate on this important issue." ENDS

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