Community Education Framework

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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The Community Education Framework has been launched.

The document, the development of which was led by SOLAS, outlines principles and an approach to making consistent and positive changes in how we learn, provide, coordinate and fund community education in Ireland.

The Framework was launched at the Southill Hub, in Donough O’Malley Park, Limerick, where Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Patrick O’Donovan TD also announced funding of €5million under the REACH Fund to community education groups across Ireland.

The funding will support almost 50,000 educationally disadvantaged learners to access and participate in community education.

Speaking today, Minister O’Donovan 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.


“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.”


Separately, Minister O’Donovan announced funding of €5 million to 700 community education groups across Ireland. The funding will be used to support local projects with online learning, to connect communities, and to provide social supports to the most vulnerable groups.

Minister O’Donovan added:

“The impact of Reach Funding over the past four years is evident.

“Originally introduced in 2020 to support the most disadvantaged learners throughout the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, it now provides important funds to assist ETBs and community education providers to increase their capacity and ensure that they can support the participation of disadvantaged learners within their communities.

“Reach Funding is growing from strength to strength, and I am look forward to seeing the outcomes and impact of the funding this year.”

SOLAS CEO, Andrew Brownlee said:

“We are delighted to launch the Community Education Framework 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 the development of this Framework was led by SOLAS, 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.”


LCETB CEO George O’Callahan 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.”

Steven Galvin

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