20 Mar 2024

Learners invited to share experience of cost of adult education with Government this April

Adult learner stands holding a microphone and speaking to a group of people

Are you an adult learner interested in sharing your experience about the cost of adult education with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation, and Science?  

Or are you an educator or tutor, or member of an adult education team, and know a learner who would like to have their say?  

We're looking for twenty learners to join us for an event in Portlaoise on Thursday 11th April 2024 to tell the Department what can be improved to support people with the cost of returning to education. The event will start with registration at 9.30am, and then run from 10.00am to 3pm. 

30% of adult learners say more financial supports are needed in Ireland, according to our research. We’re hearing from learners that they’re facing more and more challenges and lack of conditions around returning to education that would make it a realistic option for people. This includes the high cost of childcare, expensive or irregular public transport, and increasing bills for energy and food, all of which make returning to and staying in education difficult.  

The Department is looking for thoughts and feedback from people of all backgrounds and experiences. This is an important opportunity to influence next year’s spending plans. It could have a real impact on learners’ experiences across the country.  

The AONTAS team will be there on the day, and beforehand, to help learners to gather their thoughts. On the day, there will be a welcome and presentations from staff of the Department. Learners will then be invited to roundtable discussions to give feedback on what the Department might spend money on in 2025. and to share their thoughts and experiences related to the cost of education. 

If you were involved in our “Who Does It Cost?” policy discussion on 4th March as part of the Adult Learners’ Festival, this is an opportunity to share your views directly with the Department.  

The twenty learners from adult education, community education, or Further Education and Training (FET) courses can be at any level and from any programme, including full and part-time, literacy, community education, employability skills, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Post-Leaving Certificate, Youthreach, community training centres, and traineeships.    

We are offering vouchers to cover transport costs to the event.  

NOTE: It was previously announced that Minister Simon Harris would be present at this event. This is now unconfirmed due to the change of leadership in Fine Gael.

For all learners who are interested, please complete this short form, or share with any learners you know who might be interested.    

For more information or queries, contact AONTAS Education Projects Officer Ruby Cooney on or +353 871921071