4 Sep 2023

Put Yourself on the Community Education Map

Graphic reads Put Yourself On the Map

Today we’re launching the new AONTAS Community Education Map. This is a brand-new resource for everyone working or interested in community education in Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

There is fantastic and essential work happening in local communities all across the country. This map is a new space to make that work visible and to say Community Education is Here.  

People working in community education are going above and beyond to help people get back to lots of different kinds of learning. This is still under-valued and we want to change that.

There are thousands of community education groups and organisations working right now in cities, towns, and villages across the country.  

The map will help people to get and stay connected. It's an opportunity for solidarity and a show of strength. Click here to put yourself on the AONTAS Community Education Map.  

Why is the Community Education Map Important?  

Policymakers and funders are starting to understand the real value and importance of community education as one of the backbones of our society.  

A new framework for community education is being developed. However, there is still work to be done in raising awareness of how to shape policymakers’ views on what community education is and how it can really change lives.  

We need to show how – if it was well-funded and well-recognised – community education has the potential to make life better for everyone in the country. This new map is a collective, national effort and way of providing evidence of the impact of community education.  

In the “Future FET” strategy from SOLAS, published in 2020, Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation, and Science, is quoted as saying:  

“Ireland is a diverse and vibrant society. We recognise the importance of community education in facilitating integration of our diverse population; FET now has a vital role in enabling this equality and cohesion to flourish in communities throughout the country, working with the Government to create a fair, inclusive, and equitable Ireland for all." 

He talks about the “community-based ethos” of Further Education and Training as being "of huge importance to its effectiveness and success”, and states that “one component of FET which is not as easy to categorise but which forms a critical part of provision is community education, with ground-up initiatives developed to serve the needs of particular localities, often in partnership with local organisations." 

He states that community education is “critical” in “supporting participation and re-engagement in education and training, with around 50,000 learners across FET each year.”  

He points out that there is “an extensive network of community education providers” who work with Education and Training Boards to use “their local reach and connectivity to develop learning projects to address local needs and empower their learners and communities." We also know there are many non-formal, non-accredited community education groups across Ireland, whose voices must and should be heard. 

Our new Community Education Map seeks to shine a light on this “extensive network” and to give specific examples of the “local reach” of those working in local communities across the country.  

Find out more and Put Yourself On the Map.  

Be part of our launch of the map this September on social media. 

Use the hashtag #PutYourselfOnTheMap and find us on X/Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIN 

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.