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AONTAS Update...

29 June 2010 Issue Number 40 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. This week, AONTAS will be sending all members a questionnaire as part of the strategic plan (2011-2013) consultation process. Members will be invited to complete a copy by post or to avail of our online questionnaire. All details about this stage of the consultation process will be mailed to members this week. 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.

POLICY Adult Education News Politics

Weekly Survey Do you agree with plans to reform the one parent family payment? Click here to let us know what you think! 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!




Events Publications


Information Referral Service Education & Training Opportunities

Membership News AONTAS Membership



Report to support return of tuition fees An expert group, who are working on a long-term national strategy for higher education, is set to back the return of student fees in a report that will be published in the autumn. Sources say the Hunt group now accepts the case put forward by college bosses that “there is no alternative” to tuition charges. A recent HEA report has stated that over €4billion would be required to upgrade dilapidated buildings and provide space for a surge in student numbers which the Hunt group has deemed highly unlikely to occur due to the current financial crisis. (Irish Times , 22nd June 2010) Lecturers face checks on the amount of time spent teaching The Hunt report, due to be published in the autumn, will recommend the introduction of sophisticated work-load management models to monitor what staff do in terms of teaching duties, administration, counseling students and research. This comes on the back of a comment by former education Minister Batt O’Keeffe who claimed that he was told that some academics were teaching only four hours a week. (Irish Independent, 22nd June 2010) EU fund to help upskill redundant apprentices Minister Mary Coughlan has lodged an application to the European Globalisation Fund with the hope of receiving €40m from Europe with a further top up of €22m by the Exchequer. The money will be spent on courses and programmes run by FAS, VECs, third-level institutions and other providers and will benefit up to 8,600 redundant apprentices and jobless craft workers. (Irish Independent, 22nd June 2010) 80% of travellers fail to finish schooling The TEACH report has found that more than 80 per cent of Travellers do not complete their second-level education despite good progression rates from primary school. The report states that Travellers face a huge cultural clash with their settled counterparts between the ages of 15 and 19 and also that another main obstacle for the Traveller community was perceived prejudice from the settled community. One of the recommendations from the report suggests the establishment of new initiatives to combine education with practical work placements. (Irish Times, 24th June 2010) CAO surge as adults seek place in college Almost one in five applications for the CAO have come from the over23s. A record 14,606 mature applicants have sought places out of a total of 77,126 applications to date, with the figures expected to get higher over the coming weeks. Some colleges are proving more popular than others for mature applicants. The Dundalk Institute of Technology says it will offer over 240 places to mature students this summer, an increase of more than 140pc on last year's figures. (Irish Independent, 25th June

Adult Education: A Current Diagnosis & Measures for Recovery - February 2010 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. ******

2010) Minister at odds with UCD over bonus points for maths scheme (26/06/10) Minister Mary Coughlan has said that she is disappointed that UCD have not come to an agreement over the awarding of bonus points for higher maths. Their decision will now not be made until September. It is understood that a degree of division has occurred between academics in UCD over the merits of the proposal. Some believe that a blanket bonus for maths across all courses will mean that students taking higher level maths will have an advantage over others for courses such as law, where maths is not an entry requirement. (Irish Independent, 26th June 2010)

POLITICS Back to Education Allowance Information – 22 June 2010 213. Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will make exceptions for students who have been in receipt of back-to-education allowances and third level grants as undergraduates to continue to be paid back-to-education allowance for postgraduate qualifications based on their primary degree; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27373/10] Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív): The objective of the back to education allowance scheme is to equip people on social welfare payments with qualifications that will enable them to obtain employment in the labour market. The scheme covers courses of education from second level to Higher Diploma level in any discipline [level 8 in the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)] and to a Graduate Diploma in Education (Primary and Secondary Teaching; level 9 in NFQ) which add significantly to a person’s employability. Other postgraduate qualifications such as a Master’s (level 9) or Doctoral degrees (level 10) are not included. A small number of cases have arisen where a college has granted an exemption from the requirement to hold a primary degree and has admitted a person to a Master’s course on the basis of relevant life experience. In the context of the ongoing review of the operation of the scheme, it was decided to extend entitlement to back to education allowance in these instances on an exceptional basis. The potential for further changes in certain areas was identified by my predecessor to the Joint Committee on Social and Family Affairs. These concerned duration, access to post-graduate courses, appropriateness of courses and progression. The final shape and scope of such changes are currently under consideration. The nature and structure of the scheme will continue to be monitored in the context of the objectives of the scheme and changes in the economic climate. My colleague, the Minister


for Education and Skills, is responsible for administration of the student maintenance grant schemes. For AONTAS policy updates, please visit

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CELT (Centre for Environmental Living & Training) Summer in the Explore Magazine Woods, Bealkelly Oak Woods, Tuamgraney, Co Clare 17th / 18th July The new issue of Explore, 2010 Join CELT for a weekend of Natural Building, Wet Felting, the AONTAS magazine on Woodcarving, Rustic Furniture Building, Limewashing & More! We will be sharing traditional skills, improving our workshop spaces in Bealkelly adult education, is now out! Oak Woods, and sustainably managed woodland on the shores of Please click here to view it. beautiful Lough Derg. Gain skills, sing a song, play some music & enjoy ***** the craic....along with pizzas & baked potatos from our handcrafted clay oven. Only €20 per person per day. Limited to over 14's only. Annual Membership of €15 is a requirement. Free camping for participants. See for detailed info & online booking Email: Tel : 061 640765 ****** EAPN Ireland to Launch New Book on the Fight Against Poverty and the European Social Inclusion Strategy European Anti Poverty Network Ireland is pleased to invite you to the launch of a new book to mark our twenty years in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. The book is called 'Ireland and the European Social Inclusion Strategy: Lessons Learned and the Road Ahead'. Speakers include Minister Pat Carey TD (Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs) and Fintan Farrell (Director of European Anti-Poverty Network Secretariat). Date: 1st July 2010 Time: 5pm Location: Wynn's Hotel, 35-39 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1 Light refreshments will be served and all are welcome. RSVP to ****** National Volunteering Day Now in its fourth year, the National Day of Volunteering 2010 will take place on Friday, 1st October and promises to be bigger than ever, building on the success of last year when more than 4,000 people got involved, volunteering in more than 170 projects across the 26 counties. This year, we’re going to double participation and really make a

difference to communities all across Ireland. For more information, please visit ******

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MEMBERSHIP AONTAS NEWS AONTAS Strategic Plan Consultation This week, AONTAS will be sending all members a questionnaire as part of the strategic plan (2011-2013) consultation process. Members will be invited to complete a copy by post or to avail of our online questionnaire. All details about this stage of the consultation process will be mailed to members this week. We look forward to your responses. For more information, 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

AONTAS MEMBERSHIP 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! ******

MEMBERS’ NEWS Men Alone in No Man’s Land: Looking for Property Calling all business people in Dublin’s Inner City do you have a PROPERTY lying idol if so MAIN needs your help? Men Alone in No Man’s Land is a voluntary community based group established to support men in Dublin’s inner city. MAIN came into existence following a response by a number of men to what they saw as an absence of social, psychological, and solidarity networks for men living in Dublin. Visit for more information For more membership news, please visit

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National College of Ireland’s Part-time Courses Open Evening National College of Ireland’s Part-time Courses Open Evening: Tue 29th June, 17:00 - 18:30 Do you want to step up your career, develop new skills and knowledge, or build on an existing qualification? If so, then call into the Part-time Programmes Open Events at National College of Ireland on Tuesday 29th June, 5.00pm - 6.30pm in our IFSC campus. Visit

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REFERRAL SERVICE The AONTAS Information Referral 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 ******

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