31 May 2021

AONTAS Membership Support - May 2021

Niamh O’Reilly, AONTAS CEO

Dear AONTAS Member,

As part of our campaign to highlight the impact of COVID-19 on adult and community education, I had an opinion piece in the Irish Times to highlight the issue. Click here to read the piece. Also, AONTAS is collaborating with stakeholders across community, further and higher education to document the impact of the pandemic through an evidence-based paper. If you would like to share your views, please get in touch.

AONTAS is committed to effective advocacy and in the last month alone, we made six submissions to bring forward the views of our membership on key issues. The topics covered include; the PEACE PLUS Programme Public Consultation, the SUSI grant review, the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) Higher Education Futures, the Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI) Strategy Consultation and the Irish Aid Development and Global Citizenship Education Strategy 2021-2024.

Additionally, over the last month, I spoke at a number of events, highlighting the challenges for community education and what is needed to support educational equality, including the EPALE/REHAB conference, the Education Matters Summit and the Further Education and Training (FET) Symposium 2021 at the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) Conference. 

Our members are telling us that in order to move forward after COVID-19, community education must be effectively funded, including Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) reengagement and programme validation costs. Through the National FET Learner Forum work, learners are also saying that when issues of digital poverty are met, and given the increased capacity of educators, there is an interest in maintaining a level of blended learning (in-person and online) going forward. There is an urge to learn from the positive aspects over the last year. Many existing issues of access, such as transport, childcare and the need for flexibility can be aided through blended learning. 

We want to learn more as we move forward. We encourage you to get involved in our work, shape our advocacy and share your experience through our weekly webinars. We are eager to hear your views so that they are reflected in our work, from submissions to steering groups, so please get in touch. As you look to the autumn, what changes would you like to see for adult learning in 2021/2022? Let us know so that we can work towards greater educational equality for all. 

In support,

Niamh O’Reilly


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AONTAS is committed to advocating for educational equality for all adults in Ireland. Please email with any queries.

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