Page 1

View the AONTAS Update as a PDF – Click here

AONTAS Update...

13 July 2010 Issue Number 42 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 plans to reform the one parent family payment? Click here to let us know. Thanks to all of you who have voted What’s your view on adult and community education? Have your say! on this topic already! Complete the Strategic Plan questionnaire and help us shape the next 3 years’ activities! Click here to fill the questionnaire. Deadline is on 23rd July. Click here to read more about the Strategic Plan consultation process, the questionnaire is the first part of the consultation process. 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.


Adult Education News Politics


Publications & Websites

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!


AONTAS News Membership News AONTAS Membership



Information Referral Service Education & Training Opportunities International News

ADULT EDUCATION NEWS FAS: Unemployment will rise by 22,000 next year FAS’s latest quarterly economic commentary has shown a pessimistic outlook for the economy with predictions of a drop in employment of 22,000 during 2011. This is despite a 16% increase in the number of job vacancies reported to it this year. It is not just the newly unemployed who are an issue but also those in long term unemployment where numbers have doubled to 112,000. (Irish Examiner, 6th July 2010) UCD now top choice as 77,000 seek college places UCD has topped the poll in first choice preferences with an increase of 319 to 8,197 since the February 1st closing date. Trinity's first preferences fell by 70 to 7,717. It is believed many of the additional applications to UCD were for science courses, which have surged in popularity. Overall applications have reached record levels of more than 77,000. (Irish Independent, 7th July 2010) Study finds one in five would deny citizenship to Travellers A new report, 'The Emancipation of the Travelling People’, has found that one in five Irish people would deny citizenship to Travellers. This finding has increased since a similar survey 20 years ago. On a more positive note there was also a slight improvement in the number of people who would be willing to employ a Traveller, which stands at 60 per cent. Among the main recommendations of the report were the removal of the culture of poverty and deprivation, creation of a unique ethnic group status and a statutory commission to review Traveller policy. (Irish Times, 8th July 2010) Cash-strapped FAS told it can’t cope with jobs crisis The OECD in its Economic Outlook 2010 has warned that FAS is not equipped to deal with the surge in unemployment. It pointed out that the number of jobseekers registered with FAS soared by 45pc between 2007 and 2009, while staff levels rose by just 5pc yet the jobs agency is not to receive any more funding other than the €1bn budget already allocated. (Irish Independent, 8th July 2010) €6.7m Cowen-country centre 'now massive white elephant' A €6.7m FAS training centre in County Offaly has been dubbed a "massive white elephant". There is no public transport to the facility and only three staff due to the moratorium. The Dail's Public Accounts Committee heard yesterday that the centre was not being fully used due to the downturn in the construction industry. (Irish Independent, 9th July 2010) Overhauling education the smart thing to do An opinion piece by Jim O’Hara, general manager of Intel Ireland and vicepresident, Technology Manufacturing Group, Intel Corporation.


POLITICS Smart Economy Update – Parliamentary Question, Thursday, 8 July 2010 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the progress that has been made in delivering on smart economy proposals relating to the education sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Mary Coughlan): In December 2008 the Government published Building Ireland’s Smart Economy: A Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal. It centred on five key action areas: Securing the Enterprise Economy and Restoring Competitiveness; Building the Ideas Economy – Creating the Innovation Island; Enhancing the Environment and Securing Energy Supplies; Investing in Critical Infrastructure, and; Efficient and Effective Public Services and Smart Regulation. A progress report on the Smart Economy Framework was published in March 2010. The progress report highlights key headline progress from the wide range of policy actions and developments in each of the five key action areas. Key progress in the education sector highlighted in the report includes the following:- Higher education institutions have been responding to increasing demand for higher education by increasing the number of places they offer. CAO acceptances for the 2009/10 academic year, at 45,582, were up 8.3% on the previous year (2008/09), which in turn had seen an increase of 5.4% on 2007/08. The total number of full-time enrolments in higher education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills is projected to be more than 155,000 for the 2009/10 academic year. - In 2010, based on current participation rates, almost 48,000 learners will participate in fulltime further education through the Youth reach, Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme, Senior Traveller Training Centres and PLC programmes. An estimated 125,000 learners will participate in part-time programmes under the adult literacy, community education and Back to Education Initiative Schemes. - A process to develop a new national strategy for higher education began in February 2009. Led by a high level strategy group comprising national and international expertise, it 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 can be re-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. It is envisaged that the strategy will provide a vision and related set of national policy objectives for Irish higher education over the coming 20 years and identify the operational framework for the higher education system which will enable it deliver these objectives. The strategy group are expected to finalise their report before the summer. - Project Maths, which is designed to bring about a changed

approach to student learning of mathematics, with greater use of contexts and applications and greater emphasis on the development of problemsolving skills, began in 24 post-primary schools in 2008, and will begin in all schools in September 2010. Project Maths is being implemented on a phased basis over 5 strands of Mathematics. Leaving Certificate candidates in the 24 initial schools were examined on strands 1 and 2 for the first time in June 2010. In addition, the Project Maths Implementation Support Group presented its report to me on how stakeholders can work together to help achieve the objectives of the Project Maths in May of this year. The full Smart Economy progress report is available on the Department of the Taoiseach’s website: Millennium Fund Update - Parliamentary Question, Thursday, 8 July 2010 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the reason the millennium fund is being cut; if she has considered opening the scheme to applicants in 2010/2011; if she believes closing the scheme will reduce the number of persons from disadvantaged backgrounds gaining access to third level institutions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Mary Coughlan): The Deputy will be aware that the need for budgetary adjustment has made it necessary to discontinue the Millennium Partnership Fund from the 2010/11 academic year. The fund was disbursed by local Partnership Companies, mostly in the form of small grants to individual students to cover costs of items such as books and travel. Most students in receipt of support from the fund will continue to be supported under the meanstested student maintenance grant schemes. In addition, third level students in difficult financial circumstances will continue to have access to the Student Assistance Fund.

****** Labour Market Activation Programme & the VEC – Parliamentary Question, Thursday, 8 July 2010 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the numbers of places on courses provided by vocational education committees under labour market activation programmes; the number of these places filled to date in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Mary Coughlan): To date I have approved programmes being run by four Vocational Education Committees, providing up to 1,435 places, for funding from the Labour Market Activation Fund. These places are broken down as follows: Co Dublin VEC: 700 Co Meath VEC: 100 Co Mayo & Galway VECs: 320 City of

Dublin VEC: 285 – 315 Candidates are currently being selected for participation on these courses, with a view to commencement at the earliest possible date.

****** 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.

****** For AONTAS policy updates, please visit

Back to Contents

PROMOTION PUBLICATIONS & WEBSITES The first findings from the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS), involving 38 countries including Ireland, were published yesterday. Attached is a short summary of the findings from a national perspective and a press release. You can access further information on ICCS at and the international report is available here. ******

Back to Contents


AONTAS NEWS This week, the AONTAS office will be closed on Friday, 16 July 2010. AONTAS Staff are attending our annual review day and planning for a busy autumn that will include an extensive strategic plan consultation, preparation for the Adult Learners’ Festival 2011 and much more! ******

MEMBERSHIP NEWS Now you can make your own input! -Strategic Plan Consultation Process AONTAS is currently engaging in a consultation process to develop its next Strategic plan which will guide the work of the organisation for three years from 2011 until 2013. The consultation began at the Annual General Meeting of membership held on May 19th 2010. Now you can make your own input! 1. Look at Strategic Plan Scoping document (pdf) 2. Take the questionnaire online OR Download the word version Read more:

****** Participate in the evaluation of the CEN meetings We are going into our 4th year of the CEN so we want to consolidate the work and get a strong lobbying campaign for community education underway in the autumn. The CEN meetings act as an important space for discussion and reflection. In order to ensure we make best use of our meetings we are evaluating them. It is vital that you actively participate in the development of the network and therefore I would ask you to take the time to complete this questionnaire by Tuesday 26th July. Please click on this link: The survey will only take 5 -10 minutes, all responses will directly influence the next set of meetings. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Niamh O’Reilly. I sincerely hope you can participate in this survey. ****** 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 For more membership news, please visit

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 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! ******


Back to Contents

INFORMATION EDUCATION & TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES WebActivate Programme WebActivate is a new programme which aims to give participants FETAC Level 6 digital skills. Funded through the Labour Market Activation Measures, announced in June the programme will reskill 200 people by the end of the year. Participants will receive training in web design as well as hands on practical work experience in SMEs. This is a pilot project and applications will be accepted before Friday July 16th. For more information visit or contact ****** New Futures Programmes One Family is recruiting participants for their next New Futures programme which is commencing on the 13th September 2010. New Futures is a highly successful career planning and support programme that is accredited by FETAC (Level 4). The course is free of charge and runs for 3 mornings a week over five months. It includes a number of key support measures such as, one to one support, information, counselling and parenting support that will assist the participants in successfully completing the course and moving forward while at the same time balancing their family commitments. There is a limited number of places on this programme and the recruitment process is commencing immediately. T: 00 353 1 662 9212 Website: ****** BA in Development Studies: Flexible Learning Options Kimmage Development Studies Centre still has a limited number of places available on its BA in Development Studies programme, commencing September 2010. Delivered by a combination of taught course work and open/distance learning, this HETAC accredited two year programme is targeted at mature learners who have some prior experience of working in international development and /or the community development and voluntary sectors in Ireland, and who wish to study for a Degree for the first time. Full time and part time (single subject) options available. Study areas include: Adult Education; Development Economics; Environmental Studies; Gender and Development; Human Development; Leadership in Groups; Political Studies; Project Planning and Management; Sociology of Development.; Working with Conflict. For further information contact:

INFORMATION REFERRAL SERVICE What are the training and upskilling options if I become unemployed? Click here to find the answer! Visit the AONTAS website to get the latest updates on how to return to education and what courses are available under the new “activation measures�. ******

Information Booklet If you are interested in returning to education why not contact our Information Referral Service on 01 4068220. Alternatively, download a copy of the Information Booklet by clicking here ******

KIMMAGE DEVELOPMENT STUDIES CENTRE, Phone: 01 4064386 / 4064380 E-mail: Web:


International News Final Report on CONFINTEA The Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI) was held from 1 to 4 December 2009 in Belém, Brazil, with the participation of over 1,100 delegates, including 55 Ministers and Deputy Ministers from 144 UNESCO Member States. The Conference closed with the adoption of the Belém Framework for Action, which records the commitments of Member States and presents a strategic guide for the global development of adult literacy and adult education within the perspective of lifelong learning. Moreover, CONFINTEA VI saw the launch of the first Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE). The AONTAS website has both the Final Report on CONFINTEA VI and the summary GRALE report available for download.


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