Community Centre providing education for all

A local education centre provides a second chance of education for people from the area, reports Gillian Coleman.

The Dublin 8 Community Education Centre (D8CEC) has been improving the education of many people for the past 21 years, while encouraging students to reconnect to their past education experiences.

The centre, located at 17 Synge Street just a short walk from Dublin city centre, is welcoming and has a comforting feel to it from the minute you enter the door.

Rachel Morrisey, the centre’s manager, explained a little about the centre and the work that it does for the Dublin 8 community.

The D8CEC provides Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) level 3, 4 and 5 courses in areas such as IT, Internet Skills, Mathematics and Computer Literacy. Ms Morrissey explained that the centre works to the same academic calendar as schools and colleges. “We deliver these courses from September to May each year.”

The majority of the learners at the D8CEC are from Dublin 8 and the surrounding areas.

“We encourage and promote lifelong learning”

The centre also provides one-to-one literacy courses and also holds a job club on Fridays. All courses provided at the centre are part time, which allows learners who may have other commitments such as work or children to live their normal lives while still getting an education.

The D8CEC first opened its doors on Francis Street in 1996, set up by the Christian Brothers. Ms Morrissey spoke of the success of the centre and how the demand for second-chance education grew so that the centre had to find bigger premises for the students.

The centre moved from five different locations over the years, always remaining, however, in the vicinity of Dublin 8. In 2014, it found its permanent home at the back of Christian Brother House on 17 Synge Street, Dublin 8.

Ms Morrissey explained how the centre aspires “to provide lifelong learning options that respond to the needs of the adult community in Dublin 8 and surrounding areas”. It strives to “keep their students central and ensure that their courses, programmes, tutors and learning environment are the best they can possibly be.

“The centre’s motto is: ‘It’s never too late to learn’. We encourage and promote lifelong learning. People in our community deserve the opportunity to reconnect with education, which is why we encourage and promote lifelong learning.”

The centre’s motto, “It’s never too late to learn”, is reflected in the wide age range of the students who attend it. The ages of the students range from the tender age of 18 to the knowledgeable age of 83.

When asked if there has been a rise in the number of attendees at courses in the last few years, the centre manager replied: “Yes, over the last four years the numbers of learners attending have grown, especially the number of unemployed people attending.”

Ms Morrissey also commented on the number of students who have dropped out of school/college attending courses at the centre. “Over half the numbers attending D8CEC each year are early school leavers.” She explained that there are “learners who are unemployed and need to upskill and train to help them become more employable”.

Depending on the amount of courses the centre is running in a particular year, the number of students can range from 160 to 240. The class sizes of the courses are quite small as well, with on average only 10 people per class.

A total of six tutors teach the students at the centre. “The courses are provided in the community for the community and as far as possible by suitable qualified members of the community,” Ms Morrissey explained.

In 2009, the D8CEC was awarded charitable status and became a limited company. The centre is mainly funded by the City of Dublin Education Training Boards (CDETB). It also receives funding from Dublin City Council, the Edmund Rice Trust and Fast Track into Information Technology.

The D8CEC is also a part of agencies such as the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA), Aontas and The Wheel.

For more information about registering for courses at the D8CEC or if you would like to find out more about the courses the entre provides, email the centre at info@d8cec.com.

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