Bluebrick.ie Welcomes Comments on Flexible Learning in Hunt Report
BlueBrick.ie endorses recommendations for part-time adult learners in report, sees focus on this area as vital for Education in Ireland.
- (1888PressRelease) February 08, 2011 - BlueBrick.ie has welcomed the recently released Hunt Report and the comments contained within in relation to flexible learning. The website views the publication of the report as heralding a new era for flexible learning, which it views as vital to ensuring that adults can access upskilling and further learning opportunities. Recommendations in the Hunt Report, combined with new funding mechanisms coming on stream, will see the Irish education system redress its poor record in this regard compared to other EU countries. The report pays particular attention to the need for "flexibility of provision" so as to meet the needs of adult learners, a key objective of BlueBrick.ie.
"We are seeing a paradigm shift in attitudes towards the needs of part-time, adult learners," commented Dr. Richard Thorn, Director of Flexible Learning at the Institutes of Technology Ireland, who developed the BlueBrick.ie website as their centralised portal. The website allows users to easily compare courses and register for them online, including a substantial amount of part-time, flexible courses. "For several decades," continued Dr. Thorn, "our education system has concentrated on a model of learning delivery that has primarily met the needs of school leavers, with only a token acknowledgement of adult and part-time learners. It is becoming clear in higher education and particularly through the Hunt Report strategy, that greater attention is being focused on part-time learners, a development which BlueBrick.ie wholeheartedly welcomes."
Commenting on performance funding, as recommended in the Hunt Report, Dr. Thorn noted that "The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has signalled a move that performance funding will be introduced in coming years. This will result in institutions which provide flexible learning opportunities being rewarded when excellent performance in this regard is achieved. We believe that this will encourage institutions to excel in this area, and will provide enhanced learning opportunities for prospective learners."
"We also welcome the recently announced 'Springboard' fund which will be available for part time higher education learners. This initiative will go some way towards redressing the inequity in the existing student funding model, whereby only those who study full time are eligible for fees and supports," concluded Dr. Thorn.
BlueBrick.ie offers a user-friendly method of researching, comparing and registering for hundreds of courses available at the 14 Institutes of Technology across the country. All learning options are catered for, including distance learning, online learning, and classroom learning. This unique resource was launched to the public by the Institutes of Technology in early 2010, and saw its traffic grow tenfold over an eight month period. The site registered 40,000 unique visitors in 2010, and anticipates traffic will increase significantly in 2011.