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Opportunity to learn another language

21 October, 2008 - by Caitríona Ruane

Learning a language can open up a world of opportunities and possibilities.

That was the message from Sinn Féin Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, as she spoke at the Opportunity Europe 2008 event which encourages young people to learn other languages through a series of fun and interactive workshops.

"Learning languages can help young people think on a more global scale and help them to feel part of the global community. The theme of this year's event is Climate Change - a very important global issue which we all should be talking about together. In order to do that, we need to be able to communicate with people from different countries and understand their diverse cultures.

"Events such as this give our young people the opportunity to learn about the benefits of language learning in exciting ways such as table quizzes, drama sessions, music and dance."

The minister continued: "Pupils benefit greatly from an early start to language learning and it can increase their interest and success in languages throughout their education. My department launched the Primary Languages programme which teaches Spanish or Irish to pupils through skilled tutors who will work alongside classroom assistants and teachers.

"This programme has been warmly welcomed by schools and currently 284 schools will be participating in the programme. This only goes to prove the interest and enthusiasm for learning a language across the North of Ireland and I hope the programme goes from strength to strength." ENDS

Note to Editors

Opportunity Europe is being held as part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue (EYID) which reflects the increasing ethnic diversity of member states of the EU and how the EU provides for a unifying level of identity.

It also coincides with Brussels Open Days which take place annually in October throughout Europe - this year's theme is 'Regions and Cities in a Challenging World'.

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