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AONTAS Update...

18th May 2010 Issue Number 34 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.

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 Don’t forget the AONTAS Annual General Meeting takes place tomorrow, clicking here. 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 Thank you for all your strategic plan consultation document along with presentations from the responses on this issue so far – we are keeping the survey day will be available online at following the AGM. open this week to hear more of your opinions! The Update will be e-mailed to members every Tuesday afternoon. If you have difficulty viewing the Update in your e-mail window, download as a PDF by clicking here. Members are very welcome to contribute and if you have anything for inclusion, please e-mail it to Eleonora Peruffo ( by 5pm on Monday afternoon.

Each week, we will include a short poll / survey in the AONTAS Update. This is just one opportunity for members to let us know your opinions on the current issues!





Adult Education News Politics

Events Publications & Websites

Membership News

Information Referral Service Funding


Press Release


POLICY ADULT EDUCATION NEWS Minister urges college places for those failing higher maths Minister for Education Mary Coughlan has asked college heads to accept students who fail higher-level maths in the Leaving Cert exam. The Minister says the fear of failing higher-level is forcing many students to drop to ordinary level. In a letter to college chiefs she has asked them to accept students with a grade E in higher level for entry purposes and would also like them to back the plan for bonus CAO points for higher maths. (Irish Times, 10th May 2010) Universities welcome idea of bonus CAO points for maths University heads have reacted positively to the plan for the introduction of bonus CAO points for maths. Dr John Hughes, president of NUI Maynooth, said universities would respond in a favourable way to the move by Minister for Education Mary Coughlan. The issue of bonus points will be considered by university heads at their monthly meeting shortly. A move to introduce bonus points would have to be agreed by the academic councils of individual universities. (Irish Times, 11th May 2010) UCC to delay introduction of €65 conferring fee Plans to introduce a €65 conferring fee for graduates attending summer conferences has been cancelled for this year. However, college management said it will still be seeking to impose a charge for attendance at the events in the academic year starting next autumn. (Irish Examiner, 11th May 2010) Students waiting five years for exam certificate A legal issue is delaying the issuing of the Leaving Cert exam certificate for people who took the exam since 2005 with over 250,000 people affected. At present, all that students get is a provisional statement of results. Labour education spokesman Ruairi Quinn said some people would probably never get their certificates as the State Examination Commission would not have up-to-date addresses for them. This can prove inconvenient for those that wish to travel and work abroad and need to prove their results. (Irish Independent, 12th May 2010) Ending scheme’s double pay may save €70m – FG Leo Varadkar Fine Gael’s enterprise spokesman, has stated that by eliminating double payments to people on Community Employment schemes €70 million could be saved. He proposes that the system be changed so that new entrants to the scheme get their basic social welfare plus a training allowance as a top-up instead. The money that could be

saved could go towards creating 20,000 extra training and second chance education places and internships for the unemployed. (Irish Times, 12th May 2010) 2,000 new teaching jobs as pupil numbers soar 2,000 new teaching jobs have been given the go ahead with 1,000 to be created by September and the other 1,000 to follow next year. The jobs are being created due to the huge number of full-time students, which now tops one million for the first time in the history of the State. Of the 1,080 new posts coming on stream this September, 600 will be in primary and 330 in second-level. A further 150 have yet to be designated. (Irish Independent, 13th May 2010) International students in €430m boost to economy A report from Enterprise Ireland shows that international students are generating almost €430m for the economy in the current academic year with €192m in fees and the rest in living costs but Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Minister Batt O'Keeffe believes more can be done to capitalize on this area. (Irish Independent, 14th May 2010) Cuts threaten 5,000 jobs in community sector, says report A report has found that voluntary and community organisations have been disproportionately hit by 2010 budget cuts with funding to the sector down 18-20 per cent compared to a 1.8 per cent cut in overall Government spending. According to the report this will lead to a loss of 5,000 jobs within the sector. A further 1,100 community employment positions will also be at risk. By mid-2011, the sector is predicted to have contracted by 15 per cent. (Irish Times, 13th May 2010) ******

POLITICS Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education & Skills –Thursday, 20th May 2010 at 10:00am The Joint Committee on Education and Science will meet in Committee Room 2, Leinster House 2000 Financial difficulties facing access students o Access students You can view the Committee Meeting online at Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social & Family Affairs – 12th May 2010 The Joint Committee on Social and Family Affairs met in Committee Room 2on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 to discuss proposals to encourage people to access second and third level education with specific reference to the Back to Education Allowance. Officials from the Department of Education & Skills

and the Department of Social Protection were in attendance. The discussion began with a presentation on the range of supports available to jobseekers with particular focus on the back to education allowance by Alice O’ Flynn, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Social Protection. Following Ms. Flynn’s presentation, the discussion was opened up for questions and comments from members of the committee including Fine Gael Spokesperson on Social Protection Olwyn Enright TD and Labour Spokesperson on Social Protection, Roisin Shorthall TD. A number of deputies / senators commented that they had met with learners who will be adversely affected by the withdrawal of the dual entitlement to BTEA and the Maintenance Grant through their constituency work. Deputies / Senators noted that the rule is particularly unfair to mature students who have dependents and therefore have childcare costs, mortgage repayments etc. There is no acknowledgment of the additional costs that mature students face. DSP officials noted that 85% of BTEA recipients in 2009 were mature students. The full transcript of the meeting is available here

****** 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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Resilient communities, the 15th Convergence Festival, 26th May-1stJune features talks, conferences, workshops and World Café discussions on how urban and rural communities can adapt and thrive in these uncertain times. This festival brings together people from a wide variety of sectors to strategise on how we develop the resilience of our communities. Visit for more information.

****** Creating a Logo for Senior Learning! Wednesday, 26 th May 2010 The next Senior Learner Network Meeting will take place on Wednesday 26th May in Dublin, 10am-3pm, 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 click here for the full agenda. Venue: Davenport Hotel Limited places available. Please contact Dympna at 01 4068220or write to 83-87 Main Street, Ranelagh, Dublin 6 or email *****

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WEBSITES The wheel launched its new website The new site features a database of training opportunities, a jobs and volunteering section, a library of information resources and publications, and a directory of community and voluntary organisations. Two other notable features are the Sector Connector, which is an interactive space which allows people in the sector to advertise events and exchange advice and information. The second feature is the revamped fundingpoint section which has an up- todate database of funding sources and lists all the deadlines for these on a daily basis. *****



A Song for All in Carnegie Hall! Singers Selina O'Leary from Tullow and Liz Connors from Carlow will be performing a selection of songs handed down through Traveller families in front of an expected audience of up to 6,000 theatre-goers in New York’s Over 550 learners, tutors, Carnegie Hall this week. The women are participants in the 'Song for All' adult education project, a partnership between the Education and Training Centre at Co coordinators, managers, Carlow VEC and the University of Limerick. The project aims to provide a policy makers and many programme of study for members of the Traveller community to further their musical education and their personal development. "It's a very big other interested deal for me and as a member of the Traveller community," said Selina, who organisations and predicted she would be in floods of tears as she took to the stage."I'm individuals avail of the many proud of being a Traveller but I'm also proud of being Irish, too. I'm going benefits of AONTAS over there as the two -- an Irish woman and a Traveller woman, everything goes together," she added. A Song for All won the Project in Progress STAR Award 2010. Click here for a more information and a photograph of Selina and Liz accepting the STAR

Any organisation, group or individual that is involved,

Award from broadcaster Orla Barry. ****** 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


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! ******

For more membership news, please visit

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Equality for Women Measure 2010 - 2013: Call for Applications Pobal, on behalf of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform / Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, is now inviting applications for funding under the European Social Fund supported Equality for Women Measure (EWM) 2010-2013. Funding of up to €50,000 per annum per project, for one or more years (subject to conditions), may be made available to suitably qualified organisations for clearly targeted projects which foster gender equality through the delivery of practical customised development supports. The closing date for receipt of applications is Wednesday 16th June 2010 at 5pm. For further details of the Equality for Women Measure please visit the EWM webpage.

The service is suspended until further notice. ****** Information Booklet If you are interested in returning to education why not download a copy of the Information Booklet by clicking here



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

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