Part of Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:00 pm on 12th March 2013.

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Photo of John O'Dowd John O'Dowd Sinn Féin 2:00 pm, 12th March 2013

A number of unionist representatives are going to have to start tackling the question of what education and its purpose is.  It is not about the number of schools that we have, but the quality of those schools.  The mantra that we should keep all schools open at any cost is not the answer to educational underachievement whether in east Belfast, west Belfast or Newry and Armagh.

Unionist representatives are going to have to be honest with the communities that they serve.  They are going to have to show leadership on this issue and start debating education in its totality.  I say again that their slavish adherence to academic selection is one of the biggest impediments to educational achievement in Protestant working-class communities.

Literacy and Numeracy: NIAO Report