Literacy Education


As a society we often assume that literacy and numeracy struggles are a thing of the past, but they are far from uncommon. According to figures from the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA), 1 in 6 adults struggle with literacy and 1 in 4 with numeracy.

There is a stigma that can go with literacy and numeracy difficulties, and people who experience them often come up with creative ways of hiding that they struggle to read or do mental arithmetic. The stigma, past negative experiences with education, and perceived past failures can make the idea of returning to education overwhelming. Adult education programmes are designed around overcoming these issues and providing a supportive learning environment.

NALA are experienced adult education providers who provide a number of courses and services. The organisation recognises that people have different circumstances and can find certain ways of learning easier than others, so they provide a variety of education options. They provide in-person courses with options for ongoing tutoring and focussed qualification courses, as some people like to aim for goals and benchmarks, while others find testing stressful and discouraging. As in-person and group learning may not be accessible or suitable for others, they also provide over-the-phone tutoring and online courses. They have learning centres all across the country, in every county. To sign up to NALA’s courses: (linked here)

There are a number of local organisations across the country who offer Adult Learning courses. For instance Cork City Partnership run Adult Learning courses which can be accessed through them (linked here). Dublin Adult Learning Centre (DALC) offer structured QQI level 2 General Learning courses which include Reading, Writing, and Quantity and Numbers; QQI level 3 and 4 courses to expand upon those skills; QQI 4 Retail Skills ; a QQI 5 Healthcare Support course; and English as a second language (linked here). In Jobstown, Dublin, An Cosán provide a wide array of courses ranging from foundation level all the way up to third level. Their course First Steps Back to Education  is designed for early school leavers and people new to the English and Irish languages.(linked here)

The Education and Training Boards provide courses and tutoring at a local level across the country through the sixteen education and training boards. Each ETB organises their Adult Learning Scheme differently, but they all provide small group and one-on-one tutoring along with a variety of other engaging learning groups which can include things like book clubs and games based maths classes.

ETBs offer a wide variety of other courses, including English as a Second Language. Signing up for ETB literacy and numeracy education has to be done through your local ETB. Some are better than others at making information available and accessible through their websites, the following have a dedicated page for Adult Learning courses.