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Tá athás orm bheith i bhur measc inniu.
I’m delighted to be here to launch the Action Plan for Education.
Ms Mitchell and Ms Swords thank you for inviting us.
This is an important plan because it’s all about the most important people in the country- our children.
They come to school to learn about the world around them.
Crucially too they learn about themselves.
The art of learning is a powerful instrument of social cohesion. It instils in each generation the deep-rooted values of the Irish people and impacts on social inclusion. It allows people to be independent, fulfilled, and to achieve their own dreams, whatever they might be.
And it all starts here.
What we are doing with this Action Plan for Education is giving our children a real chance – an equal chance - in a world of constant and sometimes dramatic change.
Did you know that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist?
So while we may have no idea yet what our children will be, we want our children to be skilled enough, adaptable, innovative and confident enough to be right up there with the best.
To be leaders in their field.
That is why with this Action Plan 2017 we are looking to support pupils of all levels of academic talent and all abilities.
If they need extra learning support - we want it to be there for them.
If they’re struggling at maths but good at English, we want to give them the kind of support that makes their long division and probabilities as good as their essays.
If they have dyslexia, we want them to have the chance to excel like Stephen Spielberg and Jamie Oliver.
In order to achieve these goals, key actions are being prioritised. Actions such as a focus on STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This Plan will help us improve links with science and hopefully encourage pupils to consider further study in this area.
We must also ensure that every student is given the space and time to develop and grow in a nurturing environment. This Plan will focus on promoting and supporting well-being... in turn promoting positive mental health, building life skills and resilience, and improving cognitive and emotional development.
I have spoken many times about the world of social media – thumbs up and likes. Our children are growing up in a world where success and ease are everything. Media and social media suggest they can be the richest, thinnest, coolest, most popular.
It’s all not just possible - if it doesn’t happen - then there’s clearly something wrong. They’ve failed.
And in our schools and our wider community we must tackle this – this crazy cult of success.
Because inevitably they will fail. They are human. They must.
And it’s how we deal with those failures - what we learn from those failures that will bring us to our next success.
This Action Plan also focuses though on the positive power of digital technology. To enhance teaching, learning and assessment, and to help schools strengthen leadership with significant new supports for current and future leaders.
It is fitting to launch the Action Plan for Education 2017 in such a vibrant school environment. And one which is itself moving along a path of change, towards being coeducational.
I am confident that the warm and strong leadership in this school, under Ms Mitchell and Ms Swords, will help all of the team as they make that transition.
As a Government, we are committed to combining our talents and abilities to build a strong economy and to deliver a fair society, so that communities such as yours thrive right across Ireland.
Minister Bruton will go through the details of the plan and I hope you will be happy with them so that at last we can start to give you what you need.
Because be in no doubt the future of the country is right here.
So I say to the students here today if there’s something you aren’t happy with..
If there’s something you want to fix, never doubt even for a second, that you could be the one to change it.