Saturday, 30 August, 2014

Why is Adult Education important?

People who have an opportunity to continually learn and develop their skills and capacities:

  • Make our economy grow and develop
  • Ensure that their children develop a love of learning and take full advantage of education
  • Actively participate in their own communities and civil society
  • Support and respect people with different cultural beliefs and abilities
  • Respect and protect the environment for future generations
  • Nurture creativity and imagination
  • Live healthy and fulfilled lives

So: Investing in adult education makes sense for individuals, families, communities and our country as a whole.

Researching the value of adult learning

Research commissioned in 2010 by AONTAS identified a number of social benefits for learners involved in adult and community education. 'More than just a course' is a study of community education funded by the Department of Education and Skills. Community education is an important first step back into second chance learning for many adults and a national piece of research exploring its outcomes has much to offer key stakeholders in adult and community education in Ireland, by telling us about: what approaches work; how they work; what progression routes are followed, and the quality of life benefits that it can have. Read the research "Community education: more than just a course".


A second piece of research  in 2011- looked at the outcomes of community education in the non formal sector. "Sowing the seeds of social change" described how community education can contribute towards social change.

Promoting the value of adult learning

  • AONTAS organises Adult Learners Festival to promote the value of adult and community education. During the festival best practice examples of adult and community education sector are showcased and promoted through the STAR Awards.
  • Are you thinking about going back to education? Visit the What Next section of our website.  
  • The Adult Learner is the Irish journal of adult and community education founded in the mid 1980s. It aims primarily to serve the needs of the adult education community in Ireland by providing a forum for critical reflection on the practices of teaching and learning. The latest issue of the journal is available online.