[Sinn Fein]

17th June 2003

Sinn Fein launch Education Policy

Speaking at the launch of the new Sinn Fein Education Policy, entitled `Educate that you may be free' former Education Minster Martin McGuinness MP said:

``This document links our vision for Education to a practical approach for the transformation of our society.

``Sinn Fein believe that a progressive and radical education system is fundamental to the creation of an Ireland of Equals, to stronger communities and a society that can truly embrace our diversity.''

``Education is the key to Equality; Equality of opportunity, access and provision are basic entitlements. The ability for learners to achieve their full potential is a fundamental right. Tackling disadvantage is an essential responsibility of government.''

The new policy document comprehensively covers key areas including:

Underpinning policy initiatives across all these areas is a commitment to an education system that will liberate the potential of all, address and redress educational and generational disadvantage, deploy resources to promote access, effect meaningful partnership, put learners and teachers at the heart of neighbourhood networks of learning, promote achievement through quality of delivery and resources rather than narrow measurements of performance and intervene at the earliest possible stage to include people and groups hitherto excluded, disempowered or alienated.

An important new concept in Sinn Fein's education policy is that of Learning Neighbourhoods - a meaningful and effective partnership between all local education providers - including formal and informal settings, schools, libraries, youth clubs, local employers and community groups - and the community to develop `learning neighbourhoods' that deliver education and support across a range of areas including both accredited and non accredited courses that meet the many and varied needs of the community.

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