In 2000 the Government finally published a White Paper on Adult Education Learning for Life and as a result the funding available to adult education services nationally was substantially increased. A concerted effort has been made since to draw down funding which has dramatically increased the number and range of educational opportunities available to adult learners in the county. Numbers increased from approximately 521 in 1998 to 12,013 in 2008. Existing programmes (self-financing classes, literacy/basic education and VTOS) have expanded, as has the Youthreach programme for early school leavers under the remit of Adult Education Services, along with the STTC and the IT Training Centre. New programmes have been established, e.g. Back to Education Initiative (BTEI), Community Education Support Services and the Adult Learner Guidance Service.
Childcare facilities have been developed in Letterkenny, Milford, Gort a’Choirce and Buncrana to support adult learners with children. Efforts are constantly being made to integrate the work of individual programmes and to provide a cohesive service for learners with the establishment of the Senior Staff Liaison Team and in-service training for staff. Former schools were renovated. The Committee now has six dedicated adult education centres at its disposal
The Adult Education Service also works closely in partnership with relevant local, regional and national voluntary and community organisations and statutory agencies and is nvolved in a wide variety of projects and initiatives. Adult Education Services now account for up to 45% of the VEC’s core business.