Sammy Wilson drops his usual penchant for the one-liner and uses a recent IoD report to argue that the NI economy needs a strong vocational element within its educational system, and will suffer, if Martin McGuinness’s educational reforms go through. The four page summary makes no specific mention of Northern Ireland, but warns against the one-size fits all approach that some have accused the Minister of adopting.
The issue has divided opinion down traditional lines, ever since the publication of the Burns Report. Catholic Grammar schools have backed most, though not all the proposed changes. Secondary Schools Catholic, Protestant and Integrated are also behind the scrapping of the 11+:
“…in the assembly, the debate is falling largely along sectarian lines. Burns is inevitably seen, because of McGuinness, as a “green” report. Though David Ervine’s PUP (Progressive Unionist Party) – close to loyalist paramilitaries – has come out in support of reform, the Ulster Unionists and Ian Paisley’s DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) are resistant.”
The Belfast Telegraph business leader is more concerned with the pressing need to save the Belfast Agreement, warning “Northern Ireland plc has had a glimpse of a bright new future. The vision must not turn out to be a mirage.”