Community education is adult learning which takes place in local community settings across Ireland. It is learner-centred and responds to the needs of the local community.
The nonthreatening and supportive environment in which community education takes place has the effect of increasing the engagement of socially excluded adult learners and those who have had previous negative experiences of education.
AONTAS has long argued that community education has a proven track record in effectively engaging the most educationally disadvantaged learners and providing quality educational experiences that meets their needs. These groups may not have the confidence to access formal adult education opportunities in local institutions and so, community education acts for them, as a first step back to education.
The Community Education Network (CEN) was established in 2007 by AONTAS. It is a network of over 100 independently managed community education providers who work collaboratively, sharing information and resources, engaging in professional development and working to ensure that community education is valued and resourced.