Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Good education equals good business - Ruane

25 July, 2007

Sinn Féin Education Minister Caitríona Ruane has highlighted the importance of education in delivering a strong economy.

The Minister was speaking following a meeting with representatives of the CBI, held to discuss how the education and business sectors can work together to ensure young people leaving full time education have the skills needed by business.

The Minister said:

"My vision is for every school to be a good school, producing creative, articulate young people who can confidently take their place in the global community. The world around us is constantly changing and so, what we teach in our schools must also change to make sure it meets the needs of the business community if we are to build a strong economy.

"Education is going through many essential changes, from the streamlining of administration through the Review of Public Administration, to the introduction of the revised curriculum, which aims to engage children from the earliest age in relevant and interesting lessons. We are also working to ensure equality of opportunity, so our children and young people all have the same right to choose from a wider range of subjects that best suits their interests and needs.

"Looking to the needs of the business community, I recognise the importance of ensuring our schools improve on standards of literacy and numeracy as well as offering a wide range of subjects. In addition to academic subjects, we need to encourage both girls and boys to realise that science, technology and engineering can provide good career opportunities. Business is becoming increasingly global, and our young people need language skills. That is one of the reasons I am planning to introduce languages into primary schools, who choose to participate, so our children can develop these skills at an early age.

"We also need to ensure our schools estate is capable of meeting the needs that a quality education system demands. Schools must serve their local community and I believe that by developing area based planning we can use our resources to maximum impact, for the benefit of all.

"The business community also has opportunities to support their local schools and provide interesting work experience placements so young people can make informed career choices. By working together, the education and business communities can make a real difference to the prospects for our young people, their local community and our wider economy."

Also speaking after the meeting, Declan Billington, CBI Chair said: "Today, more than ever, businesses will be competing on the basis of the attitudes, skills and abilities of their employees. It is therefore essential we equip our children with those skills which offer attractive opportunities for individuals and Business alike.

"Children today, through the subjects they choose at 14, are set on their future career paths at a very early age and it is therefore vitally important that the careers service and the education system together provide the best quality education and guidance, ensuring a strong match between the skills needs of business and the subjects being studied.

"In the western world we all share the same challenges of the rising Asian economies and are all responding in the same vein, competing on a skills and innovation platform. To succeed, we therefore have to do it better than everyone else. That is the challenge we face in today's schools, to deliver the highest quality education and motivation to our children, encouraging them to excel in subjects, which support the needs of the economy.

"We welcome a devolved administration which will put the economy first and make sure our children, through skills development will reap the benefits of this in their adult life." ENDS

Connect with Sinn Féin