What Does Community Education Mean to Us?

5 Sep 2023
This September, we're running a national campaign to encourage all community education groups and organisations across the island of Ireland to Put Yourself On the Map. Our new AONTAS Community Education Map will be a valuable resource showing the breadth of community education work happening across the island, and in the future it will be used as evidence of the impact of community ed in discussions with funders and policymakers. Join us this September and Put Yourself On The Map.

Writing by Dr Kate Smyth, Strategic Comms Officer

Take a look at the Map

We all deserve to get a quality education, go to university or college if we want, to get a good job, have enough money, feel secure, be healthy, feel your family is safe, have a stable place to live, get any help we need, feel cared for by the society around us, be a part of a community, feel we have a stake in what happens in our country and feel we want to be part of it, and feel we have free time, curiosity, and comfort in our lives.  

Doesn’t everyone deserve this? But what if you grew up feeling no-one cares about you? What if you started to think you can’t have a say in anything happening around you? What if you fell on hard times? What if you lost people? What if you lost yourself? 

Graphic reads What is the Community Education Map hashtag put yourself on the map hashtag neaal
Community education means that everyone can learn new things, feel cared for, and feel they matter. Everyone deserves to feel like that.  

With community education, a young man on social welfare might be recommended to do an IT course and all of a sudden find themselves doing drama and poetry 

With community education, an older man who dropped out of school decades ago might start doing an art course and find he’s great at it. He might start talking to other men on the course about what it was like growing up and how hard things were sometimes.  

A single mother looking to feel less alone might find herself doing a business course somewhere that offers on-site childcare. She might learn from other women, not just about business skills, but about how to cope, and she might start to feel more confident in herself.  

Someone who comes from an estate where no-one goes to college might find that a community education course in digital skills helps break them out of that cycle.  

Community education offers a place to learn that is a refuge, a source of calm away from the chaos. Learning there means you get respect, and people listen to what you have to say.  

When you’re born into a stable environment, you have a chance to figure out what you’re good at and you know that you matter. Without that chance, the potential of people can get lost. Everyone deserves a chance. 

Community Education offers that chance to people who never had it.  Let's show everyone that Community Education Is Here. Be part of the Community Education Map. Learn more.  

Find us on social media and the hashtag #PutYourselfOnTheMap

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This campaign is part of AONTAS' 2022-2023 project ‘Inclusive Recovery and Transformation: Adult Learning Post-Covid-19’ as part of the New European Agenda for Adult Learning.