Professor Emeritus Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh Addresses Community Education Seminar

Just over 80 participants attended the recent annual Community Education Seminar hosted online by Donegal ETB’s Further Education and Training (FET) Service.

This annual seminar offers those who are involved in the provision of Community Education, particularly those who use grant funding administered by the ETB’s Community Education Support Programme under its FET Service, the opportunity to come together and discuss issues of relevance to them.

Participants were welcomed to the seminar by Adult Education Officer Martina Needham and heard an opening address by Donegal ETB Chief Executive Anne McHugh.

Community Education Facilitators Catherine Friel and Orla Winters outlined the significant contribution of the Community Education Support Programme within communities across the county in 2021 – almost 200 courses were supported to involve over 2,000 students. Most provision was non-accredited, short-term, and part-time, including arts and crafts, languages, and gardening, but also allowed for participants to undertake accreditation in areas such as Local History, Intercultural Studies and Community Development.

In supporting groups to deliver community education in their own area, the Programme enabled the provision of high-quality, low-cost courses delivered locally and meeting identified needs of the local community.

Keynote speaker Professor Emeritus Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh and former Dean of Arts and Vice-President of NUI Galway, spoke about the role that Community Education providers play in sustaining community cohesion and the role of heritage and culture in social development.

The seminar also included input from students and providers who have engaged with the Community Education Support Programme over the past year, as well as musical performances from Meitheal Ceol Scioból na bhFear, who have received funding from Donegal ETB.

Participants also heard from Ciaran O Brien who outlined outdoor education opportunities at the ETB’s Outdoor Education and Training Centre at Gartan.

In closing the seminar, Donegal ETB’s Director of FET, Cróna Gallagher, highlighted a range of initiatives taking place within the FET Service, including the importance of the student voice in guiding provision. She said, “that thirty-four Community Education Providers received funding under the Mitigating Against Education Disadvantage Fund (MaEDF), with nearly €300,000 allocated to the county.”

For further information on the Community Education Support programme contact the Community Education Office at 074 9725522 or visit https://www.donegaletb.ie/feature/programmes/community-education-2/.

Professor Emeritus Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh.