Friday, July 08, 2011

Literacy the liberator from poverty and exclusion- Ó Ríordáin

Speaking ahead of the Minister for Education's launch of 'The National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People' Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has again stressed the importance of literacy in empowering marginalised young people.

"Having spent 11 years as a teacher and then principal in the North Inner City and having been politicised by my experiences in the classroom, I am particularly proud that the Minister Ruairí Quinn has embraced the literacy issue so readily and so enthusiastically.

"In my estimation there is no greater obstacle to social justice than the fundamental ability to read. It is no surprise to me that an average of 30% of deprived children have fundamental reading problems or that the figure is closer to 50% in more acute areas of disadvantage.

"Upon my election to Dublin City Council in 2004 I worked tirelessly to put literacy at the top of the council agenda and I launched my 'Right the Read Campaign' as Deputy Lord Mayor in 2006. This campaign succeeded in investing €1million into the Library service in Dublin City and opened every library in the city at weekends for the first time, including libraries in disadvantaged areas. Nine learning zones were also founded and building standards for apartments were improved to encourage learning at home.

'However today's launch will make a fundamental change in the lives of every child in the state, making literacy a national cause, and driving through that empowerment that will break down barriers of poverty, social exclusion and inequality. Today for me is the proudest of days and points to a bright future even in these darkest of economic times".

You can view the literacy and numeracy strategy here.