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Minister Harris announces €5.8 million for community education

The fund will be distributed in the coming days

29th December 2020 - Simon Harris TD

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has announced that €5.8m has been granted for community education.

The Fund was secured as part of Budget 2021 to support community education for adult learners, who have the highest level of need.

It aims to increase the participation of disadvantaged learners, particularly those who are undertaking literacy and skills programmes.

The fund has a strong focus on building the digital infrastructure of community education providers, including providing devices and software, and increasing their capacity to deliver online learning.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “We know that too many people in Ireland have difficulties with reading, with numbers or with digital skills. Some people may not have got the help they needed earlier in their lives, but what I want people to know is that there is friendly and non-judgemental help there for you now. There are services all over Ireland which will gladly assist you with the skills you’d like to learn.

“One of the things that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted was educational inequality – be it a lack of devices like laptops or someone not having the connectivity to study online. The funding I am announcing today is specifically designed to tackle those inequalities and support access to community education.

“Education is for everyone, for all your life, and I am determined that my department will be part of building an inclusive Ireland where nobody is left behind.”

Categories eligible for funding included:

  • Digital Technologies to supply devices, software and systems, or CPD training, to facilitate high quality learning and delivery
  • Learner Assistance Fund to help, where appropriate, with costs associated with course participation, such as books and class materials
  • Outreach, Engagement and Mentoring Fund to assist with costs associated with activities such as awareness raising, and services to promote re-engagement
  • COVID-19 Exceptional Circumstances Fund for Community Education to address educationally disadvantaged learners

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