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Funding rising demand for adult education

September 25, 2018

A significant boost in funding for adult education courses has been welcomed by EIT, which is fielding a growing demand from people wanting to “go back to school” for second chance learning.

Funding for Adult Community Education (ACE) has been lifted by nearly a third.

Because most of the courses are part-time, EIT expects the number of people it can cater to with ACE will lift from around 920 to 1220 a year in the Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne regions.

Most of the adult education courses are delivered in small regional communities and through community groups.

Through the ACE courses, often adult students restart their learning and boost their confidence to undertake further study, leading to qualifications.

This year the programme has included courses in sustainable food production, healthy cooking and healthy living, digital upskilling, introduction to the English language, introductory Maori language and tikanga (Maori culture), sustainable earth building and introduction to Chinese/Mandarin language and culture. New to the line-up this year was sign language for beginners.

The courses are developed in line with community requirements, and often lead to further education.

In the past two years, just over half of those enrolling were either unemployed or recorded their occupation as “none”, said EIT policy and projects executive director Patrick Jones.

“EIT is demonstrating its commitment to ensuring our delivery of ACE aligns with the ACE funding priorities of targeting learners whose initial learning was not successful, raising foundation skills, strengthening social cohesion, and enhancing a learner’s ability to participate in society and economic life,” said Mr Jones.

EIT is confident it can make an immediate increase in the number of ACE courses on offer and maintain the increased level over the following year.