Community Education

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.

Community education has a track record of effectively engaging with people who wish to return to education but may not have the confidence or opportunity to do so in a formal setting.

CEN Census: Community Education in a Time of COVID-19

AONTAS is piloting a CEN Census, which seeks to map the impact of COVID-19 on community education provision across Ireland.

The deadline to submit your response has been extended to 5pm on Monday, 30th November 2020

All participants will automatically be entered into the prize draw for the chance to WIN one of four €50 One4All vouchers.

Put yourself on the map, share your experience of COVID-19 and raise the profile of community education in Ireland. The census is open to members of the AONTAS CEN and all community education organisations in Ireland.

Complete the survey today, click here.

Join the conversation online with #CommunityEdCensus

This organisational survey focuses on identifying community education groups, courses, learner profile, participation, funding streams and supports. The survey will also examine the impacts of COVID-19 on community education organisations, including the move to emergency remote learning, any changes in learner engagement, funding, staffing, and plans to ensure continuity of learning during COVID-19.

In capturing urgently needed data from community education organisations, the survey sets out to assess the impact of the crisis on learners engaging in community education (often socially disadvantaged and traditionally furthest from education). At the same time, it seeks to gather examples of community education’s agility in responding to the crisis and the importance of extant support networks at a local level.

A final report on Community Education in a Time of COVID-19 (January 2020) will combine qualitative findings from learner and practitioner focus groups and semi-structured interviews with quantitative data gathered through a learner and organisational survey.

Should you require more information or assistance, please contact AONTAS Research Officer, Eve Cobain at

Community Education is non-formal in nature offering short, part-time courses and programmes, and can therefore act as a first positive step back to education. It leads to many possibilities for learners and communities, including skills development, confidence building, greater community involvement and progression to further education or employment.

AONTAS Community Education Network (CEN)

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.


CEN membership

Membership of the Community Education Network is free for AONTAS members. Please note CEN membership is subject to criteria; all members must be local, self-managed, independent community education organisation committed to social change.