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AONTAS Update...

4th May 2010 Issue Number 32 Editorial and Welcome Welcome to the AONTAS Update! The AONTAS Update is a weekly resource designed to keep members informed about current lifelong learning issues as well as what’s happening in AONTAS! Please let us know what you think of the bulletin by taking a short survey here. Don’t forget to register for the AONTAS Annual General Meeting which takes place on Wednesday, 19th May 2010 in the Clarion Hotel, IFSC. The AGM will kick off the consultation for the AONTAS Strategic Plan 2011 – 2013. A copy of the consultation document along with a booking form and agenda were posted to members last week. Please complete the booking form included in the pack and return before Wednesday, 12th May 2010 to Dympna Larkin, Membership Liaison Officer, 2nd Floor, 83-87 Main St, Ranelagh, D6.

Weekly Survey

Do you agree with the action the Government have taken to take away the availability of a Maintenance Grant for students on the BTEA who are entering full time, third level courses? Let us know by clicking here.

On behalf of the staff team and myself I would like to thank most sincerely all of you for your kind words, cards, emails and expressions of support since the tragic loss of Jenny over Easter. Your support has been very important to us as we try to come to terms with our loss. We have passed on your condolences to Jennifer’s family and we will be recording all messages as a memorial to Jenny’s life and work. Thank you one and all. Thank you for all your Berni, Jacinta, Niamh F, Niamh O, Ciara, Eleonora, Dympna and Kathryn. responses on this issue so far – we are keeping the survey The Update will be e-mailed to members every Tuesday afternoon. If you open this week to hear more of your opinions! Each week, have difficulty viewing the Update in your e-mail window, download as a we will include a short poll / PDF by clicking here. Members are very welcome to contribute and if you survey in the AONTAS Update. have anything for inclusion, please e-mail it to Eleonora Peruffo This is just one opportunity for ( by 5pm on Monday afternoon. members to let us know your opinions on the current issues!

POLICY Adult Education News Politics




AONTAS News AONTAS Membership

Information Referral Service Education & Training Opportunities

POLICY ADULT EDUCATION NEWS Mature students urge reversal of grant cuts Minister for Education Mary Coughlan has been urged by students to reverse cuts in the maintenance grants. The new proposed measure will affect mature students beginning a third-level course in September or those on access programmes who intend to start third level as new students who receive the back to education grant will not be entitled to receive the maintenance grant as well. (Irish Times, 29th April) Colleges told merge or die Tom Boland, chief executive of the HEA, set out a reform agenda for the country's third-level system. Ireland has been deemed as having too many colleges and universities and this strategy will recommend merging colleges and courses. Mr. Boland said the number of HEIs had to be reduced in the interests of creating institutions that have a reasonable critical mass of students and can compete globally. (Irish Independent, 29th April) Cork has biggest backlog of grant applications in country HUNDREDS of third-level students are still awaiting a decision on grant support applications from a number of local authorities throughout Munster with Cork having the biggest number with 354 grant applications having yet to be finalised. The Higher Education Authority chief executive Tom Boland yesterday called for the centralisation of all grant payments to one body instead of more than 60 councils and Vocational Education Committees. (Irish Examiner, 29th April) Jobs for graduates difficult to find on home turf The 'What Graduates Do: The Class of 2008' report from the Higher Education Authority provides a snapshot of the employment fate of graduates nine months after leaving college. It found that 94pc of honours degree graduates from Dublin find a job in the county within nine months. By comparison, the national average is for only one in three graduates (34pc) to find employment in their home county in the same period. At the bottom of the league when it comes to getting a job at home are graduates from Roscommon (16pc) and Meath (15pc). (Irish Independent, 27th April)


POLITICS Student Support Bill Update – PQ 27 April 2010 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Science if, further to Parliamentary Question No. 920 of 20 April 2010, she will now publish the draft amendments and communicate them to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Science in order that the preliminary discussion can take place after a two-year delay, with a view to making constructive progress on this legislation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16873/10] Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Mary Coughlan): The Deputy will be aware that I am re-assessing organisational options for the student grants administration function in the context of the Government’s wider programme of public service reform. Possible options for a more significant centralisation of functions are being explored with a view to streamlining operations and maximising administrative efficiency. This involves revisiting the proposals for administration currently provided for in the Student Support Bill. I would like to assure the Deputy that these proposed amendments are now at an advanced stage of preparation and it is my intention to proceed with the Bill on this basis in the shortest possible timeframe. ****** Higher Education Strategy Update – PQ 27 April 2010 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Science when she will publish the report into third level strategy chaired by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16876/10] Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Mary Coughlan): As the Deputy is aware, a High Level Group is currently developing a new national strategy for higher education. That Group is examining how well Ireland’s higher education system is performing, how it ranks internationally, how well existing resources are being used and how the system should be configured to best meet the many challenges it faces over the next decade having regard to the key role it has to play in contributing to Ireland’s economic recovery. A first round of consultation was completed in summer 2009, under which an open call for written submissions elicited a significant and valuable response. In addition to this first round of consultation, a series of discussion forums with academics, students, enterprise as well as bilateral meetings with other stakeholders, including the institutions, have been held. The outcomes of these consultations and other ongoing discussions are feeding into the current deliberations of the Strategy Group who are expected to finalise their report before the summer.

****** February 2010 - Adult Education: A Current Diagnosis & Measures for Recovery As part of the Adult Learners' Festival 2010, Lobby for Learning Day AONTAS invited education spokespeople together with the Minister for Lifelong Learning Sean Haughey to hear firsthand about a service that is overstretched and struggling to cope with the current demand from adults for education and training. At "The Adult Education Clinic" Minister for Lifelong Learning, Sean Haughey, along with Green Party TD Paul Gogarty, Fine Gael TD Brian Hayes, and Cllr Aodhan O Riordain from the Labour Party re-created the format of a constituency clinic in order to hear from providers on the ground, as well as adult learners accessing the services. Adult Education: A Current Diagnosis & Measures for Recovery, a short paper illustrating the current demand for adult education and three measures for recovery, was launched at the event.

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PROMOTION Events Intergenerational Learning Project-6th May 2010 The conference will showcase past and current work from the perspective of older learners, DCU student volunteers and the academic community, and will include workshops on three themes central to the project: well being for older and younger learners, integrating senior learners in thirdlevel education, and uses and benefits of ICT and social media for older learners. These workshops will be led by experts in the field, and participants will be drawn from current and prospective learners, DCU students, academics and interested stakeholders. Click here to view their Google, Blog and Twitter sites. Click here for registration.


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Creating a Logo for Senior Learning! Wednesday, 26 May 2010 The next Senior Learner Network Meeting will take place on Wednesday 26th May in Dublin, during the Bealtaine Festival . One of the proposed actions will help address manifesto point 2: Creating and distribute information on the learning opportunities for older learners in every community – is the creation of a logo which identifies that the course is aimed at older people. Therefore this will be the basis for the next meeting as it moves on implementing the manifesto and is also creative, because the learners will create the logo, and therefore fits into the criteria of the Bealtaine festival. Please contact Dympna at 01 4068220or write to 83-87 Main Street, Ranelagh, Dublin 6 or email

AONTAS MEMBERSHIP Over 550 learners, tutors, adult education coordinators, managers, policy makers and many other interested organisations and individuals avail of the many benefits of AONTAS

****** AONTAS AGM Materials for the upcoming AONTAS Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, 19th May 2010 have been posted to all members today. The AGM takes place at 10:00am in the Clarion Hotel, IFSC, Dublin 1. The main focus of this year’s meeting is an initial consultation process to kickstart the development of the next strategic plan. Please complete the booking form included in the pack and return before Wednesday, 12th May 2010 to Dympna Larkin, Membership Liaison Officer, 2nd Floor, 83-87 Main St, Ranelagh, D6. If you require any further information please contact Niamh O’Reilly ****** Many Happy Returns AONTAS have recently published a short booklet chartering the organisations 40 year history (1969 – 2009). For your copy, please contact Ciara Murphy, Resource & Communications Officer at ******

Any organisation, group or individual that is involved, or interested, in adult and community education may apply for membership. If you feel that you would benefit both in your practice and personally from AONTAS join our vibrant organisation today!

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INFORMATION EDUCATION & TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES Study Business Part-time from Anywhere in Ireland-UCD The Centre for Distance Learning at University College Dublin (School of Business) offers the following part-time programmes: Bachelor of Business Studies (Honours) 4 year part-time programme, Diploma awarded after 2-years and Master in Management, 2 year part-time programme, For non-business

INFORMATION REFERRAL SERVICE Due to the sudden passing away of Jennifer Gunning, AONTAS Information and Research Officer, the

graduates. With attendance on campus between 6-8 weekends each year, service is suspended until these programmes are ideal for those working full-time. A range of further notice. support structures are in place to assist students who are returning to study and to facilitate part-time study at a distance. These include: ****** Tuition on study skills, including planning/organising study, reading/note-taking, essay-writing, and examination techniques Specially designed course materials, study plans and continuous Information Booklet assessment/feedback If you are interested in Study guidance and support available on a day-to-day basis returning to education why Group study, although not required, is encouraged and supported not contact our Information Admission: For details on admission requirements, see Referral Service on 01 Open Events: Come and meet with a member of staff at one of the 4068220. Alternatively, upcoming open events: . download a copy of the Tuesday 4th May (4-6pm) Contemplation Area, Quinn School of Information Booklet by Business, UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4 Apply online today at clicking here For further information contact us at: / 01 716 4738 for the Diploma/Bachelor of Business Studies programme / 01 716 4818 for the Master in Management programme.


Back to Contents AONTAS is the National Adult Learning Organisation. It is a non-governmental organisation that exists to ensure that every adult in Ireland has access to appropriate and affordable learning opportunities throughout their lives, thus enabling them to participate in the economic, social, civic and cultural development of Irish society. For further information visit or Apologies for any cross posting. If you no longer wish to receive information from AONTAS, please e-mail AONTAS – The National Adult Learning Organisation 83 – 87 Main Street, Ranelagh, Dublin 6W Ph 01 4068220«Fax 014068227«E-mail Company Registration: 80958 Charity Registration: 6719