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National Community Education Framework launches in Limerick

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National Community Education Framework launches in Limerick. Lindsey Liston, Southill, Nessa White, SOLAS, George O’Callaghan, LCETB, Andrew Brownlee, SOLAS, Suzi Cronin, Southill Hub. Photo: Brian Arthur

The publication of the National Community Education Framework marks an important milestone in ensuring a more consistent approach to SOLAS-funded community education across the country

The publication of the National Community Education Framework marks an important milestone in ensuring SOLAS-funded community education
The development of this Framework was led by SOLAS and involved an extensive consultation process with key stakeholders within the FET sector. Pic. Brian Arthur

The development of this Framework was led by SOLAS and involved an extensive consultation process with key stakeholders within the FET sector, including Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board. The document outlines principles and an approach to making positive changes in how we learn; how we provide; how we coordinate; and how we fund; community education in Ireland.

Welcoming the launch of the Community Education Framework, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Patrick O’Donovan TD said, “Community education includes both formal and informal learning, addressing learners’ personal development, building skills while offering educational options through simplified pathways, and further opportunities to progress to other areas of FET and beyond.

“Community education plays a vital role in the FET system, and in local communities across Ireland as it offers local, accessible, and welcoming learning opportunities for individuals.


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“The distinguishing factor of community education is the wide-ranging outcomes for learners, which include skills development, confidence building, greater community involvement, social justice outcomes and progression to other types of FET provision.

“Investment in community education has grown beyond recognition in recent years, supported by Reach Funding, and we have also seen an increase in demand for community education provision. This Framework will provide a solid basis to shape how SOLAS and the ETBs fund, coordinate, support, develop and monitor community education and will ensure that we can continue to provide access to education those that need it the most.”

As part of the event learners, including Stephanie Ryan and Macey Kelly from the Family Resource Centre in Ballynanty, Limerick, took part in a panel discussion and shared their experience of the positive impact that community education has had on their lives.

Commenting on the launch, George O’Callaghan, Chief Executive of Limerick and Clare ETB, said: “There is a huge vibrancy of community education provision in Limerick City and across the Limerick and Clare region. Its delivery, in partnership with a network of community organisations, is making a real impact on the lives of those learners who participate, by responding to their needs. We are really pleased to see the publication of this Framework and we look forward to working with SOLAS and our colleagues across the ETB Networks to ensure that we can continue to provide this vital provision in the heart of our communities.”

Also commenting on the launch, SOLAS CEO, Andrew Brownlee said: “We are delighted to launch the Community Education Framework in Limerick today, which marks a significant step forward for the FET sector. The Framework is part of our commitment to ensuring consistent approaches to community education across the FET sector, and that we have a structure in place that supports innovative ideas and best practice across the country.”

“Community Education plays a critical and unique role in the FET system, and in local communities across Ireland. It not only benefits learners and communities, but also supports a democratic society. It is now more important than ever that we recognise community education for its ability to foster social cohesion and active citizenship.”

“Whilst SOLAS led the development of this Framework, it has been a collaborative process which involved key stakeholders within the FET sector, including feedback from learners. This Framework belongs to the whole FET sector, and it would not be possible without the valuable engagement and support from all of those involved.”

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