Minister Simon Harris has confirmed €5.8million in funding nationally
MORE than half a million euro in funding has been allocated to the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board for community education.
The Mitigating against Educational Disadvantage 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 and 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.
Confirming the allocation of €5.8 nationally, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon 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.
Of the funding announced, a total of €505,750 has been allocated to the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board.
Minister Harris added that Covid-19 has highlighted the educational inequalities that exist – be it a lack of devices like laptops or someone not having the connectivity to study online.
"The funding I am announcing 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," he said.
Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS, welcomed the funding announcement: “Community Education and the support that it provides in meeting the needs of marginalised and disadvantaged learners is a fundamental part of what Further Education and Training offers. SOLAS and the 16 Education and Training Boards nationwide, were delighted to receive over 500 applications for this fund which will make a real difference for learners in local communities across Ireland whether it be through support around digital technologies, outreach or individual learner assistance," he said.