Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board (CMETB) has been awarded over €500,000 in funding to address educational disadvantage. This funding was allocated by Solas to CMETB as part of The Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage Fund (MAEDF) recently announced by Minister Harris.
The Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage Fund (MAEDF) aims to address educational disadvantage which may be experienced by learners and has a particular focus on supporting the engagement/re-engagement of learners in the community. This initiative aims to reduce barriers to participation in Further Education & Training (FET) by facilitating wider access to digital technologies, equipment and materials.
Minister Simon Harris says the grants will help to break down many barriers to learning – such as a lack of devices like laptops or someone not having the connectivity to study online.
Linda Pinkster, Director of CMETB Further Education & Training said: “The MAEDF funding, and associated projects, will be of great support and benefit to learners, community & voluntary groups and those hardest to reach. Ultimately, it will enable those who are disadvantaged or isolated to engage in education. It will provide platforms for greater participation and reduce the isolation currently experienced due to Covid.”
As a result of the MAEDF funding, over 600 CMETB learners received financial support towards the costs associated with undertaking their programme of study, e.g. transport, meals, rent, ICT and class materials.
Furthermore, a total of 20 Cavan/Monaghan community projects received grants. The projects spanned all age-groups and included youth/senior groups, traveller groups, refugee groups, community employment agencies, charities and cancer support groups. Through the funding received, these groups will support the wider community with particular benefit to learners who are disadvantaged through poverty, disability, learning difficulties, rural isolation, cultural and language barriers, unemployment and those with limited or no technology.
The counties of Cavan and Monaghan have a large rural population with a significant amount of people who are currently experiencing barriers to learning due to many factors. There are many individuals where online and/or remote learning has not been an option through lack of technology (high speed broadband), inadequate facilities, lack of financial resources or IT illiteracy. New technologies and supports provided by the MAEDF will lessen the inequality they currently experience due to lack of IT skill or access to IT/digital services and other supports. Learners, and others who have the skills but do not have the facilities at home will now have local options to assist in their learning.