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Quinn could learn from North’s literacy and numeracy improvement – O’Brien

3 April, 2013 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien has said Minister Quinn could learn much from the approach being taken in the North to improve educational standards across the second level sector.

The Cork North Central TD was speaking after his party colleague John O’Dowd, MLA, received credit at the INTO conference in Cork on Tuesday for the role he has played as Education Minister in overseeing a significant rise in the rates of literacy and numeracy in primary schools in the North.

He said: “It was somewhat telling that, in marked contrast to the understandable anger directed towards Education Minister Ruairí Quinn during the INTO convention, credit was given to Minister John O’Dowd for the significant improvements that have been made at primary school level in the Six Counties over recent years.

“There was recognition also that the findings of the TIMMS and PIRLS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and Progress in International Reading Literacy) showed that primary schools in the North are world leaders in terms of literacy and numeracy, and this has been matched by encouraging improvements in the post-primary sector.

“As the dust settles on this week’s teaching union conferences, it is clear that in spite of their best efforts and dedication in their role as educators, teachers in this State at both primary and secondary level are struggling to maintain standards.

“The imposition of countless cuts in pay, allowances and essential supports can be directly attributed to the government’s austerity measures and this is having a direct impact in the classroom.

“By contrast, Minister O’Dowd has redirected almost £400m back into schools, despite his own budget being drastically reduced as a result of the British Tory Government’s austerity programme.

“Despite the spin and misinformation that is regularly expressed by government ministers and backbenchers, the rise in the rates of literacy and numeracy North of the Border are a clear vindication of the pivotal role successive Sinn Féin Education Ministers have played in driving standards upwards.

“Minister Ruairí Quinn and his government colleagues could learn much from the approach that has been taken to improve education in the Six Counties.”


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