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Transforming Education – Gerry Adams MP MLA

1 February, 2009 - by Pat Sheehan

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP MLA was the guest speaker at a Sinn Féin function in the Armagh City Hotel on Saturday night.

Addressing the audience the Sinn Féin President focused on the expected announcement on Monday by the Education Minister Caitríona Ruane outlining her proposals for post academic selection education.

Mr. Adams said:

"The process of change in the education system is enormous. I believe the vast majority of citizen's desire fundamental change within education based upon best practice and modern needs.

Most people want equality of access to education for all our young people.

Parents, whose children will be affected by decisions on post primary education want clarity and certainty and convincing answers to their many questions about how children will transfer from primary to secondary education.

For some time Sinn Féin and the Minister have tried to reach an agreement on this issue with the other parties, including the DUP and within the education sector. Most educationalists want these changes. Most politicians know that these changes are urgent and needed.

Regrettably some, either for party political reasons or because they prefer a nineteenth century approach to 21st century education, would prefer to hold on to the 11 plus. That will not happen. The 11 plus is gone and will not be back.

This week is the beginning of a new opportunity for every child in primary school in the north. The programme of change which the Education Minister will introduce and manage will provide a better education service that any we have had before. It will ensure that those who would have done well in the old system will still thrive, and those who would have been left behind by it will now have new opportunities and new possibilities and hope for the future.

The challenge we now intend to meet is to build a 21st century education system that delivers for all our children, the academically gifted as well as those who have other talent."

The Sinn Féin leader urged everyone not to rush to judgment on the Minister's proposals but to "take time, examine them closely and then join in the difficult but rewarding work of transforming our outdated education system into a modern system. CRÍOCH

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