AONTAS COVID-19 RESPONSE

Collective Responsibility to Support Adult Learners during the COVID-19 Crisis

AONTAS is here to support our members and learners.

Please follow the public health information and guidance provided by government bodies regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Visit HSE for accurate and up-to-date information. 

At the heart of all this work is creating conditions where Learners can succeed. It is important to recognise this situation is not ‘business as usual’.

The COVID-19 crisis will hit the most vulnerable groups the hardest. We believe that educational providers and policymakers must devise solutions to acknowledge and address the specific impact this crisis will have on disadvantaged individuals and communities. To prevent the impact of exacerbated inequalities AONTAS is working to identify issues and propose solutions.

We are supporting our members and learners in a range of ways as outlined below.

AONTAS is actively working on the Department of Education and Skills COVID-19 Tertiary Education Steering Group. Tertiary education includes community, further and higher education. In addition to participating on two of the sub committees linked to this group, AONTAS has been appointed to chair a subcommittee on Mitigating Educational Disadvantage (including Community Education) during the COVID-19 Crisis Working Group.

By chairing this group, AONTAS is working with stakeholders from a number of organisations from across the tertiary sector to make recommendations designed to mitigate educational disadvantage. You can read about the recommendations developed by this group in a series of papers featured in section five below.

1: Representing your needs

Members have the opportunity to collaborate with the AONTAS Team at least once a week through our weekly Member Webinars. Register to attend these here or learn more about AONTAS Membership here.

AONTAS is aware this is an evolving situation. As your needs change, please reach out to us and let us know how we can support you.

2: Providing Resources to support your work

We created a Resource Hub where members can find and share resources that are helpful to continuing learning in these emergency remote learning conditions. We have also worked with SOLAS to provide access for community groups to Moodle. Any member can avail of this support and professional development training on how to use Moodle for learning. To avail of this opportunity, please contact us.

We want to ensure learners continue to share their voice. Learners can tell us about their experience of learning during COVID-19 by:

1. Ringing our Freephone helpline (1800 303 669)

2. Participating in a Virtual National FET Learner Forum Meeting : These online meetings will focus on finding solutions to the problems facing learners at this time. If you or someone you know would like to take part, please email kfarren@aontas.com .

3. Emailing AONTAS

4. Reaching out on social media through #LearnerVoice or #FETLearnerForum

We endeavour to share as much information as possible about the work AONTAS Members are doing to support the continuity of learning during the COVID-19 Crisis. If you’d like to learn more, we frequently share examples of this work on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedInpages.

Click here to learn more about the Community Education Network.

Mitigating Educational Disadvantage (including Community Education issues) Working Group: Learner/Student Engagement across Tertiary Sector – A Discussion Paper

Mitigating Educational Disadvantage (including Community Education issues) Working Group: Assessment Equality across Tertiary Education – A Discussion Paper

Mitigating Educational Disadvantage (including Community Education issues) Working Group: Digital Learning and Disadvantage across Tertiary Education – A Discussion Paper

Mitigating Educational Disadvantage (including Community Education issues) Working Group: Challenges facing Learners and Community Education Providers within Tertiary Education – A Discussion Paper

Mitigating Educational Disadvantage (including Community Education issues) Working Group: Educational Equity and Learner Cohorts – A Discussion Paper

Mitigating Educational Disadvantage (including Community Education issues) Working Group: Tutors and Practitioners on the Front-line During COVID-19 Emergency Response Education – A Discussion Paper

Mitigating Educational Disadvantage (including Community Education issues) Working Group: Financial Issues impacting Learners/Students in Tertiary Education – A Discussion Paper

Mitigating Educational Disadvantage (including Community Education issues) Working Group: Learner Mental Health and Wellbeing and COVID-19 – A Discussion Paper

A Step-by-step Guide to Accessing Unlimited Mobile Data

Please note that further publications will be shared here soon.

A series of blogs based on these discussion papers is available here.

To make your voice heard and have your issues raised to decision makers at the highest levels of government contact AONTAS via email: mail@aontas.com or Freephone: 1800 303669.

You can also send us a private message on Twitter or Facebook.