15 Jan 2020

General Election 2020: Opening Statement from AONTAS

As the country faces what may be the most important three weeks of 2020, not only for politics but also for the future of adult and community education, AONTAS will make resources available for its membership to ensure they are election-ready. AONTAS will keenly engage with all parties and as many independent candidates as possible to achieve a sustainable and equitable education system that benefits everyone in Ireland.

On behalf of its members and all learners, AONTAS will be releasing our new Election Toolkit on the AONTAS website before the end of the week. The toolkit is freely available and provides useful tools and tips for all members and those involved in adult and community education so that you can effectively engage with your candidates in the General Election. As part of our communications with members and politicians we are also asking our members to start using the hashtag #LearnersVote2020 so that we can build momentum in this General Election (#GE2020).

The very recent 4th Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE 4) published by the UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning in December confirmed that community education (CE) plays a very important but often overlooked role in the adult learning and education landscape in Ireland and globally.  AONTAS members know the importance of community education, particularly given the current political and environmental context, and this was very much a focus of our recent Lifelong Learning Summit in November 2019. GRALE 4 offers a Global hook on which to hang the broad concept of adult learning that underpins the work of AONTAS and our members which is based on UNESCO’s four pillars: Learning to Be, Learning to Do, Learning to Know and Learning to Live Together.

As well as defining the clearly pivotal position of Community Education within the lifelong learning landscape, UNESCO Member States made a landmark decision to adopt the Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education (RALE). This reflects a vision of Adult Learning and Education (ALE) where its vital function within democracy is defined by how ALE can best meet the contemporary educational, cultural, political, environmental, social and economic challenges of this era.

AONTAS will ensure that whoever is in power after the 8th February will understand the role of adult and community education in overcoming these challenges and why it makes practical sense to give the adult and community education sector greater recognition and resourcing now more than ever.

For more information on our General Election Priorities click here or contact AONTAS Advocacy Lead Ben Hendriksen.

Phone: 01-4068220