FALNI presents case to Assembly Committee
FALNI members Colin Neilands (Chair of FALNI), Ann Osborne and Alan Carr, together with Michael McGoldrick, Chief Executive of First Steps Women's Centre, Dungannon, gave evidence to the Committee on the values, benefits and contribution of Adult Education in NI.
In what Michelle Gildernew MLA and Pat Ramsay MLA described as an insightful and excellent presentation, Colin Neilands gave an overview of the work of FALNI to date. This included the production of Manifesto for Adult Learning in NI and the recent publication of research conducted by Dr Helen McLaughlin: Northern Ireland: a Learning Society.
Ann Osborne gave details of the barriers facing adult learners, including rural isolation and lack of childcare provision, and also gave the committee members an account of the wider benefits of people engaging in adult learning. These range from helping people to manage their finances, to greater community participation, to bridging community divides.
Alan Carr asked the Committee how we can afford not to invest in adult education, emphasising the need to bring learning to where people are. Bringing delivery to local communities means flexible, relevant and accessible opportunities can be made available to all.
Whilst FALNI welcome the current skills strategy, it is concerned that the strategy is too narrow in its focus; a point acknowledged by Michelle Gildernew MLA after the presentation.
FALNI's presentation concluded with a request for the Committee to work in partnership with its members and to use FALNI members' skills, knowledge and experience to present questions to the Minister. There is an agreed need to do more research into adult education in Northern Ireland and gather evidence to develop what FALNI describes as a long term vision and investment into Adult Education. The Committee gave an assurance it would support Adult Learners' Week in early 2012.
NICVA is a member of the Forum for Adult Learning NI (FALNI), a voluntary network of stakeholder organisations with region-wide interests and responsibilities. Current membership is made up of:
Statement of purpose:
- Gathering evidence of the role, impact and value of adult learning to the social and economic development of Northern Ireland.
- Engaging the interest of local politicians, policy makers, funders, those with responsibility for resource allocation and other key influencers.
- Participating in and influencing policy development.
- Facilitating information sharing and dissemination within the wider sector.
- Keeping a watching brief on policy implementation.
Subscribe to eNews
Share your COVID-19 support service
Organisations providing support to people and communities during the COVID-19 emergency can share their service information here