29 Jan 2024

"Who Does It Cost?" Announcing our focus for the AONTAS Adult Learners' Festival 2024 Policy Discussion

People standing together and smiling in front of a red-brick building and doorway. From left to right, William Beausang, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Fiona Maloney, Director of the National Tertiary Office, AONTAS CEO Dearbháil Lawless, AONTAS Chair John D'Arcy, Dublin City University President Dáire Keogh

Every year as part of the Adult Learners' Festival, we have a discussion on adult learning policy. This year, we will bring together AONTAS members and policy makers to explore policy solutions to the growing levels of poverty and income inequality for adult learners.

The title for the event is "Who Does It Cost? How greater investment in adult learners will strengthen Irish society".

What to Expect at "Who Does It Cost?":

Education is widely recognised as a tool used for improving the conditions of people’s lives, and society. Research shows that adult learning results in increased levels of personal happiness and wellbeing for individuals; a greater sense of belonging, social inclusion and inter-cultural understanding for communities; benefits to the economy; and a decrease in levels of poverty and inequality.  

Yet there is insufficient financial investment to meet the real costs of adult learning in Ireland.

"Greater investment in adult learning would help address growing levels of poverty, and work towards addressing inequalities in Irish society" - AONTAS CEO Dearbháil Lawless

There must be adequate and reliable funding to cover the real costs of returning to education as an adult, particularly for people from under-resourced communities. We must incentivise returning to education in order to work towards greater equality in Irish society.   

“Who Does It Cost?” will inform relevant policy makers about the cost and impact of insufficient investment in adult learning on Irish society, and what can be done to bring about positive change.

We will raise awareness about growing levels of poverty and inequality in Ireland among adult learners and their families, and how that impacts people’s ability to learn. Attendees will learn about the education policies that determine financial supports for adult learners, and what needs to change to bring about greater equality. We will demonstrate the transformative power of adult learning, and the ongoing impact of educators and staff in adult and community education across the island of Ireland.  

Launching Soon: A national campaign calling for greater investment in adult learning

We will soon launch a national campaign targeting specific financial policies relating to adult education in Ireland, and advocate for changes to make access to adult education easier.

At this event, you will be invited to have your say, and work with us to bring about results that will help adult learners.   


Click here for more on the AONTAS Adult Learners' Festival 2024 

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