The Department of Adult and Community Education, Maynooth University.
Adult and Community Education at Maynooth University
Adult education is the study of how we learn and develop as adults to collaborate in the creation of a just, equitable and sustainable society. Adults bring their personal and social experiences into education: emotionally, intellectually and physically. We transform lives and communities through adult and community education.
The key fundamental beliefs underpinning the Department’s vision is (i) that education is a human right for everyone throughout their lives and (ii) the purpose of education is to foster people’s capacities for agency and transformation. Transformation is understood as the capacity to cope with the world as it is, to critique and resist injustices and create new egalitarian ways to live.
The Department gives expression to these beliefs by:
- Providing professional training for educators working in diverse adult education contexts including guidance counselling, community, further and higher education settings.
- Implementing innovative processes and practices that help to widen participation in education at third level including prior learning assessment and recognition, flexible programme delivery and participative and creative pedagogical approaches which validate the knowledge brought to the classroom by adult learners.
- Contributing to the development of participative and change-orientated research endeavours that draw on the experience of educators and learners in the adult education sector in Ireland and in an international context.
- Developing innovative, participatory and reflexive teaching methodologies that enhance the possibility for transformative learning. The collective and democratic nature of participants’ engagement with each other and with staff is a central element in all the initiatives offered by the Department.
- Developing accessible and flexible third-level, part-time learning opportunities that meet the social and economic needs of adults.
- Pioneering initiatives in collaboration with a range of interest groups to enhance the provision of education for those sections of the population that are currently not well served by formal education.
- Participating actively in the debates on the provision of all forms of education, with emphasis on those sections of the population that are currently not well served in the formal system, including both disadvantaged and pioneering groups and communities.
- Promoting the contribution of education to the advancement of a society based on social justice, ecological stability, equality and human rights.