During July 2021, 15 learners from 11 counties across Ireland participated in a ‘Learners as Leaders’ development education advocacy programme delivered by AONTAS, in partnership with Development Perspectives.
On Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 80 guests gathered online for the launch of AONTAS’ National Further Education and Training Annual Synthesis Report.
CEPRAH focuses on initiatives that support active civic engagement and the proper functioning of democracy in communities at local, national and global levels. The information below gives an insight into the project, the recent virtual café and guidelines on how to become involved in future activities.
On Wednesday, 30th June, almost 100 participants from across the lifelong learning sector, including community education organisations, Education and Training Boards (ETBs), Higher Education Institutions and NGOs, gathered online for the CEN Census 2020 launch event. AONTAS implemented this broad-scale mixed methods research project, drawing on qualitative and quantitative data, to build a robust evidence base demonstrating the need to effectively fund community education. This online event provided an opportunity for participants to discuss key findings and recommendations from the first Community Education Network (CEN) Census report, “CEN Census 2020: Community Education in a time of COVID-19”. Taking an evidence-informed advocacy focus, the event aimed to share with policymakers and stakeholders some of the key issues facing community education providers, particularly during COVID-19.
On Wednesday, 30th June, participants from across the lifelong learning sector will gather online for the launch event of the AONTAS research report CEN Census 2020: Community Education in a time of COVID-19.
The Further Education and Training (FET) Learners as Leaders programme is a new collaborative project delivered by AONTAS in conjunction with Education and Training Boards (ETBs). It is designed to empower learners to become learner voice advocates and participate in leadership roles within their ETB. This work is an expansion of the National FET Learner Forum, allowing learners to build on their initial experience of sharing their learner voice in FET.
A major negative outcome of the growing ‘digital divide’ between the digital haves and have-nots is that many of us are struggling with the phenomena associated with fake news, campaigns based on politics of fear and hate, and the damage this is doing to social cohesion and solidarity within Ireland and across Europe. AONTAS and its members have been aware of the threats that this poses to adult learners and their communities, which is why the organisation has undertaken a new EU project that seeks to build global citizenship and social cohesion within communities across Ireland with a focus on Digital Literacy.
In this blog post, AONTAS Project Officer for Capacity Building, Órla Mannion, highlights AONTAS’ involvement in a new Erasmus+ project that supports older adult learners.
On 22nd March, AONTAS joined with our fellow adult learning civil society organisations worldwide to promote the understanding and practice of adult learning and education. The International Council for Adult Education (ICAE) leads the 5-year campaign and notes the central role of adult learning in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the need for adequate funding and the value of ALE in a healthier planet and a better, more just world. The purpose is to speak with one voice in advancing the value of adult learning for all. As part of the “we are adult learning and education” (#weareALE) campaign,
On Day 5 of the AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival (Friday, 5th March), 80 participants from Education and Training Boards (ETBs), community education organisations, Higher Education Institutes (HEIs), academics, adult learners and policymakers joined a Policy Day event. This event was organised to bring together policy makers, adult learners, practitioners and tutors from across the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, through our Network for Adult Learning Across Borders (NALAB).
On Day 4 of the 15th annual Adult Learners’ Festival (Thursday, 4th March 2021), the first online AONTAS STAR Awards celebration was hosted by Colm O’Regan - comedian, bestselling author and broadcaster. Almost 150 people came together for this uplifting online event that celebrated and acknowledged the incredible work adult learning providers have done in adapting their provision during COVID-19 to ensure learners’ needs continue to be met.
On Day 3 of the AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival 2021 (Wednesday, 3rd March), AONTAS held an event in collaboration with the Paulo Freire Institute of Portugal to commemorate the centenary of Paulo Freire's birth in 1921.
On Day 3 of the AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival (Wednesday, 3rd March 2021), AONTAS screened a thought provoking webinar on Facebook. This webinar included contributions from Dr Paul Gaffney, Lead Consultant in High-Performance Sport Clinical Psychology and Finola Colgan, Development Officer, Mental Health Ireland. Both speakers looked at mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Day 3 of the AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival 2021 (Wednesday, 3rd March 2021), 22 educators and practitioners from Northern Ireland’s adult and community education sector joined a webinar which to learn more about AONTAS’ work and to share their experiences during COVID-19.
On Day 1 of the AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival 2021 (Monday, 1st March 2021), 85 participants joined a workshop that showcased the Learners as Leaders change-orientated adult learning methodology, the Irish model of community education, and learner voice activities.
Gender equality is one of the core principles of AONTAS’ work. Last year, AONTAS Research Officer, Laura Lovejoy, had the opportunity to attend the Economic and Social Research Institute’s 2020 Geary Lecture. This year’s lecture was given by Professor Paula England, a Professor of Sociology at NYU, and focused on continuing gender inequalities across earning potential and fields of study comparing evidence gathered from both the United States and Ireland. Professor England’s research shows that while, in the United States, women are now surpassing men in attaining baccalaureate and doctoral degrees (England, 2020) , much work remains to be done in advancing gender equality, as fields of study remain gender segregated and women still earn less than men.
On Wednesday, 16th December, AONTAS launched a new publication: the "I'm a FET Learner" booklet. The booklet captures the experiences of ten Further Education and Training (FET) learners who participated in the National FET Learner Forum over the course of its existence from 2016 to 2020. Since its launch the Forum has reached 3,791 learners and helped to provide important learner feedback into the future planning of FET. This booklet showcases the individual impact of the Forum according to learners who have taken part and showcases the diversity of voices and experiences captured by the event. For many, the Forum is a stepping stone to further, deeper learner voice engagement and the booklet celebrates each learner’s journey and the empowerment they gained from sharing their voice.
AONTAS’ sister organisation Adult Learning Australia (ALA) celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2020. ALA is the largest national not-for-profit organisation representing adult and community education in Australia. Their mission is similar to that of AONTAS as they work to ensure that all Australians can access the benefits of lifelong and lifewide learning. In this blog AONTAS Member Rob Mark shares the highlights of one of the key events that took place as part of these celebrations which included a video presentation from AONTAS CEO, Dr Niamh O’Reilly.
On Wednesday, 25th November, over 40 AONTAS members nationwide attended our Membership Update and Engagement Webinar facilitated by Dr Michael Hallissy, Co-founder of AONTAS member organisation H2 learning. H2 Learning work with teachers and learning organisations at all levels to integrate digital technologies into teaching, learning and assessment practices.