116,000 adults are now in part time education


MORE than 116,000 people are involved in part time adult education, of which more than 70 per cent are women, according to figures published to coincide with the opening of this year's adult learning exhibition in Dublin.

Aontas, the national association of adult learning, estimates that another 6,600 adults are mature students at third level while another 40,900, most of them, women are involved in community learning initiatives.

At this year's exhibition at the RDS today and tomorrow, third level institutions and other training bodies will provide information about part time and full time education and training opportunities.

Opening the exhibition, the Minister for Enterprise and Employment, Mr Bruton, stressed the need for "a culture of lifelong learning" in society to help cope with changing work patterns.

A decision by the Department of Education to increase the budget for adult education in secondary schools from £78,000 last year to £100,000 has been welcomed by the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland. About 80 post primary schools offer adult education schemes in disadvantaged areas.

Communications technology features prominently. Information on exhibitors is available on Aertel, and the Higher Education Authority is demonstrating its new Ortelius database of higher education in Europe. This provides Internet access to information on courses and colleges.

Another new exhibitor is Rehab's Fresh Start programme, which aims to provide a career start for people recovering from psychiatric illness, a traumatic event such as a car crash or other disabilities.

The exhibition in the RDS is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow. Admission is £2 and is free for the unwaged.