CEN Census 2020 Launch - Community Education in a time of COVID-19

29 Jun 2021
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.

This online event will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss key findings and recommendations from the first Community Education Network (CEN) Census report. It will also take an evidence-informed advocacy focus and will seek to inform policymakers on issues facing community education providers, particularly during COVID-19.

The event, chaired by AONTAS Chairperson, Tara Farrell, will include a welcome from AONTAS CEO, Niamh O'Reilly and a message from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD. A presentation of key findings from the report will be delivered by Dr Eve Cobain, AONTAS Senior Research Officer and Dr Akisato Suzuki, AONTAS Research Officer.

A stakeholder panel including Andrew Brownlee, Chief Executive Officer, SOLAS, Ruth Griffin, Adult Education Officer, Cork Education and Training Board, Cathleen McDonagh Clark, Manager, Exchange House Ireland National Travellers Service and Liam McCarthy, Senior Training and Development Officer, Social Health Education Project, will discuss some of the key findings from the report and what they mean for the community education sector as a whole.

About the CEN Census 2020

For the first time AONTAS implemented a broad-scale mixed methods research project, drawing on qualitative and quantitative data. We called it the CEN census, to uncover who engages in community education, what courses are provided, how it is funded, and critically how it effectively supports people to fulfil their potential. This research has taken on even greater importance as it captured the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on 76 community education organisations. To offer a more expansive understanding, 192 community education learner perspectives offer a rounded description of learning during COVID-19.

The findings from the report demonstrate:

Given the exacerbation of educational disadvantage arising from COVID-19, AONTAS is calling for an equitable support plan for community education as part of a national tertiary education wide approach to educational equality. To accompany the CEN Census report, AONTAS has published a Policy Paper detailing why educational equality is central to Ireland’s recovery, post COVID-19.

To read the AONTAS Policy Paper, based on the key findings from the CEN Census 2020 report please click here

To read the full CEN Census 2020 report please click here

For more Information

For more information on the CEN Census 2020 research please contact Eve Cobain, AONTAS Senior Research Officer at: