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 piloted a CEN Census, mapping the impact of COVID-19 on community education provision across Ireland.

The first iteration of the Census was launched on Wednesday, 30th June 2021. Click here to learn more about the launch event and to access the research report, "Community Education in a Time of COVID-19" and policy paper. The research report combines 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

Join the conversation online with #CommunityEdCensus.

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.


AONTAS Policy Day:
Issued in March 2022

AONTAS Policy Day: "Community Education - Working Together to Address Educational Equality"

VIEW PDF (4.35 MB)
A reflective view of the impact of the second round of Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage Fund (MAEDF). Published on the AONTAS Policy Day, as part of the Adult Learners' Festival 2022