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Education Minister stresses the importance of learning another language

9 June, 2009 - by Caitríona Ruane




Education Minister Caitríona Ruane, has stressed the importance of giving young people the opportunity to learn another language in school.

The Minister was speaking at a ceremony in Parliament Buildings for over 70 school children from across the North who participated in the McCracken Cultural Society, Gold and Silver Fáinne Scheme.

Before presenting the pupils with their certificates and Fáinnes the Minister said: “I think it’s very positive that there are so many languages in schools. With programmes like the Fáinne Scheme it provides our children and young people with the opportunity to learn more about the Irish language, history and culture.

“This is very important and one of the reasons why I introduced the Primary Language Programme in schools. In a school population where overall the numbers are falling, demand for Irish-medium education is continuously growing and is now the fastest growing education sector in the North.

“The work of the McCracken Cultural Society and the teachers in the participating schools is giving our young people a wonderful opportunity to broaden their language skills and to be presented with a recognised qualification for their level of spoken Irish. It also enables newcomer children to learn about their new home and friends.”

The Gold & Silver Fáinne Scheme is run in schools by the McCracken Cultural Society for pupils between the ages of 11 and 18. The scheme has been running since 2003 and is currently being run in eight schools throughout the North with approximately 1,000 pupils involved in the scheme

The aims of the scheme are:
· to reward and recognise pupils’ study of the Irish language;
· to encourage and consolidate the study of the Irish language in schools; and
· to award a fáinne/certificate at a level appropriate to achievement .

The Minister continued: “The more opportunities we can provide to support languages in schools, the greater benefits for our young people and for our future. Everyone involved in this scheme should be very proud of their hard work and achievements.”

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