Minister Martin Heydon TD for Kildare South this week welcomed that Kildare and Wicklow ETB Schools are to receive €159,657 as part of the announcement by his colleague, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD announcement that €6.85m has been granted to provide funding to support educationally disadvantaged learners in accessing and participating in community education under the Mitigating against Educational Disadvantage Fund (MAEDF).

“The Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage Fund does just that, by providing much-needed funding at a local level to directly address the causes and outcomes of the most disadvantaged learners in Ireland. The great work done around Ireland by ETBs and community partners, enabled by the MAEDF, tackles adult literacy issues and re-engages learners with education – and provides this support in digital-first ways that meets the complex needs of the learners at hand”.

The projects funded varied from those designed to help support online learning, connect communities, and provide social support to the most disadvantaged. The Fund has a strong focus on building the digital infrastructure of community education providers, including providing devices and software, and increasing their capacity to deliver online learning.

The purpose of the Fund is to assist ETBs to increase their capacity, and that of community education providers, to address the decline in participation of disadvantaged learners particularly those on literacy and basic skills programmes at NFQ levels 1 to 3.

“This Fund places a strong focus on community education as a mechanism to continue to support and engage with disadvantaged learners and is specifically designed to tackle educational inequalities which continue to be highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 highlighted significant social issues across our communities, and it’s vital that these issues do not remain with us long-term. Importantly, the MAEDF targets funding on digital infrastructure, which is more needed than ever in post-pandemic Irish society,” Minister Heydon said.

More information on the Fund can be found online here: Including digital testimonials of real-life projects funded by MAEDF.