This year sees the seventh annual Adult Learners Festival. Aos Oideachais Náisiúnta Trí Aontú Saorálach (AONTAS) – the national adult learning centre are once again running this highly anticipated event, which will take place from February 25th to March 2nd this year. The success of previous years will be built upon as different organisations around Ireland hold events in their own locality to encourage adults to explore the variety of learning options available to them.
All kinds of organisations have become involved, some for the first time and others who have been part of this initiative from the start. Providers of adult education, museums, galleries, libraries, community groups, specialist groups, in fact anywhere that adult learning takes place will offer the opportunity for all adults to participate in a variety of events. There is something for everybody from perfecting digital camera skills at your local community centre, getting on terms with Skype and other communication tools, e-publishing, seed sowing, green topics, learning for job success, drumming and meditation workshops to name a few.
The mission of AONTAS is that all Irish adults should have access to learning opportunities as adult learning has an important role to play in the social and economic future of Ireland. The Adult Learners’ Festival is a national celebration of adult learning, which gives an opportunity for wide scale promotion with a demonstration of its value.
- Celebrate adult learning and learner achievements.
- Show case for adult education providers.
- Promote work of the adult education sector and AONTAS.
- Place adult education firmly on the political agenda.
This year each day of the festival has a relevant theme and organisers and participants are encouraged to get involved in one, some or all of them.
Festival Theme Days
• Monday 25th February 2013 – Celebrate Learning
• Tuesday 26th February 2013 – Green Learning
• Wednesday 27th February 2013 – Learning Communities
• Thursday, 28th February 2013 – Learning for Work
• Friday, 1st March 2013 – Lobby for Learning Day
• Saturday, 2nd March 2013 – Family & Intergenerational Learning Day
AONTAS welcomes all groups and individuals and encourages them to become involved in the 2013 Adult Learners’ Festival. It makes no difference whether participants are part of big national organisations, large or small business, or local community group. The diversity of participation is a bonus for making the Festival a success. All ideas for events are welcome and AONTAS would love to have a discussion with all participants, so they can help publicise events on their website and in their press releases and other media communications. Posters and publicity material are available to event organisers, groups and individuals interested in taking part in the Festival.
Star Awards Celebrate Learning
The Monday of the Festival sees the announcement of the 2013 Star Awards chosen from nominated projects and judged by an experienced panel. In total, 36 projects made the shortlist and these will be reviewed in the preceding weeks before the awards ceremony takes place at the Burlington Hotel.
Past winners include Age Action for their “Getting Started” project where volunteers teach older people internet and computer skills and the Knockmay Women’s Voice Quilting Project where local women living in social exclusion and poverty are empowered to express their dreams along with their experiences of poverty and social exclusion
Tuesday’s Green Learning theme will include events where learning about sustainable living, gardening, organic food, environmental issues, and other green topics is available at many locations around the country.
The Wednesday theme is for events that encourage learning at local level in the community. An array of learning experiences in community centres, libraries, museums, and heritage centres bring education to everyone’s doorstep as part of a wider process.
Learning for Work
Learning for Work on Thursday is an opportunity for adult learners to learn how to up skill, take up training and learn about preparation for returning to the work force after being at home, unemployed or redundant. There are also events for those adults in the workforce to demonstrate adult education comes in all shapes and forms and is available to learners whatever the circumstances.
Learning Day Lobbying
On Friday, it is all hands on deck to raise the profile of adult learning and to make its value visible in the political and social arenas.
Saturday sees events for the whole family across the generations. These events show how learning can take place within families and what can be learned from others within that group.
Adult learning is not just about night classes, masters degrees or a return to classroom based learning. The Festival will show that adult learning is important, and can encompass serious subjects with a qualification at the end of the tuition as well as learning for fun from cake decorating to local history.
For more information view the Adult Learners Festival website at http://www.adultlearnersfestival.com/