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Recession causes adult education to increase in numbers

Large numbers of people are turning towards adult education as a result of the recession. With 13.4% of the population unemployed (as of April 2010) many feel that the only way to increase chances of employment is through gaining a qualification.

Speaking at a VEC Adult Basic Education Centre in Co Meath in April, Sean Haughey, Minister of State at the Department of Education, said that “these are difficult and transient economic times for us all. Further education has a crucial role to play in enabling our society and our economy to overcome the challenges we are facing.”

The number of applicants through the CAO has increased by 10% from last year and includes many adult applications.

There has been a 50% increase in Irish applicants to university courses in the UK, with a 63% increase in persons over 25.

The Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) has approved 18,700 applications in October 2009, which is a staggering jump from the 11,646 that were approved in 2008.

Dublin Business School (DBS), on Aungier Street, confirms that there have been a large number of adults returning to education in search of academic degrees.

While the Adult Education section of University College Dublin (UCD) has noticed a large number of adults looking for qualifications, they noted “it varies, now [the adults] are looking for certain subjects in particular.”

A 2009 report by Aontas, the national adult learning organisation, stated that the main reasons for people returning to education are to find a job or to up-skill and the majority (36%) of those interested in attending courses under Aontas was unemployed. However, amongst these the majority (12%)  had been unemployed for less than 3 months at the time of the report’s publication, and only 1% were labelled as “long-time unemployed.”

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