15 February 2001 Edition

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Sinn Féin Assembly Education spokesperson Barry McElduff said this week that the marketplace or selective mechanisms have no place in the future development of the education system.

``The introduction of marketplace ideology into our schools by the last Tory government and the continuation of a Conservative approach to education by the current British Labour government have no place in the development of an inclusive education system in the north of Ireland,'' he said.

``The role of selection and in particular of the 11+ here has been detrimental. As a society we need to ask ourselves what outcomes we what we want from our education system. Do we want an education that equips our young people with the personal skills needed to contribute and participate fully in an inclusive society.

``The widespread belief is that the selection process, which in reality is a de-selection process, has failed. We now need to critically analyse the type of thinking behind the selective models being suggested by a Labour government in Britain that owes much to Thatcherite ideology and develop an education system that best suits our needs for the next half century.

``For 13 years now our schools have borne the brunt of educational reforms and initiatives, some of which were justified. Others, however, have contributed to concentrating the weight of socio-economic and educational need in secondary schools and entrenching a two-tier education system.''

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