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From engineering to E-Bay – mathematics is vital

12 November, 2008 - by Caitríona Ruane

In every aspect of our daily lives, mathematics plays a crucial role and more must be done to ensure our young people have the necessary skills to cope.

That was the message from Sinn Féin Education Minister Caitríona Ruane and Minister for Lifelong Learning, Seán Haughey, T.D. as they opened the North South Numeracy Conference in Cavan today.

Speaking at the event, Caitríona Ruane said:

"We are all aware of the importance of mathematics in our daily lives and good skills in this area are essential in whatever job you do.

"We should recognise the high standard of teaching and celebrate the academic excellence across the north. However, there is an alarming level of under achievement with over 12,000 young people leaving school without English and Maths GCSEs - that's 47%. We are failing our young people and that is simply not good enough.

"Every child should have the opportunity to gain the basic literacy and numeracy skills they need to succeed in life. That is why the revised curriculum is about preparing young people for all aspects of life and has literacy and numeracy at its core."

The Department of Education launched the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy for consultation in June 2008. The aim of the strategy is to ensure that every child leaves school with the appropriate standard of literacy and numeracy. The consultation ends on 30 November and the Department would like to encourage everyone with an interest in education to respond to the consultation exercise.

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