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Minister Ruane Addresses Ulster Law Students

2 March 2010

University of Ulster students had the chance to debate key issues with Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, when she visited the Jordanstown campus today.Post-primary transfer was on the agenda as Minister Ruane addressed over 100 first-year students taking the Law, State and Society module of  Ulster’s LLB Hons Law degree.

During her visit to Jordanstown Minister Ruane outlined the benefits of the Department’s Transfer 2010 policy and engaged in lively discussion with staff and students.

The Minister said: “The relationship between Government and society is so vital to our overall wellbeing with, for example, education a central aspect of the lives of almost every family. We have a responsibility to ensure that our children grow up with equality of opportunity and access to the quality education they all deserve.

“This is why I have ended state-sponsored academic selection in the north, stopping future generations of local children suffering the trauma of being labelled as failures at 10 or 11 and bringing us in line with most other European education systems.

"My Department’s Transfer 2010 policy sets out a clear framework for admissions criteria to be used by post-primary schools, which is based on equality. As part of a range of interconnected, progressive reforms, Transfer 2010 will also contribute to raising academic standards for all children, not just some who succeed in an out-dated and unfair test. Academic selection is academic rejection for the vast majority of our children.”

Minister Ruane was welcomed to the University of Ulster by Professor Alastair Adair, Provost and Pro Vice Chancellor of Communications and External Affairs and Dr Thomas Murphy, Head of the School of Law.Dr Murphy said:  “Engagement with law makers, whether in the judiciary or in government, provides law students with an invaluable opportunity to contextualise and appreciate the real significance of their studies.  The willingness of the Minister to take time from her busy schedule, not only to address but to directly engage with students and staff on such a topical issue is thoroughly appreciated by everyone.”

Dr Eugene McNamee, Research Coordinator in the School of Law, added: “The Law, State and Society module encourages students to think beyond the boundaries of law as a system of neutral rules, and to recognise the inter-relationship of law to politics, social studies and ultimately social justice.    “Many of the discussions generated in this module on diverse aspects of this pattern of inter-relationship have gravitated towards the role of education in shaping attitudes towards society and in actually generating a particular kind of society.  It is with particular pleasure therefore that we welcome the Minister for Education to speak on the topical issue of post-primary transfer, a matter of such significance for the educational environment within which the next generations will grow to adulthood and thus for the development of our rapidly changing society.”

To listen to Minister Ruane’s address in full visit: