Our Sector in Education

The ACE Sector

The ACE sector in Aotearoa New Zealand is diverse. It includes:

  • The services of specialist not-for profit organisations such Literacy Aotearoa and English Language Partners (formerly ESOL Home Tutors)
  • The programmes offered by WEAs (Workers Educational Associations) Community Education in secondary schools
  • Rural Education Activities Programmes (REAPs) courses and programmes provided by some polytechnics
  • Courses run through the continuing education departments of universities
  • Iwi-based courses and programmes
  • A very large number of community-based organisations which provide opportunities for adult and community learning. Some of these might be listed on this website.

If you are part of an organisation which provides opportunities for adult or community learning, but you are not currently linked into the sector contact our team to get connected.


What is ACE?

Adult and Community Education (ACE) is a process whereby adults choose to engage in a range of educational activities within the community.

The practice fosters individual and group learning which promotes empowerment, equity, active citizenship, critical and social awareness and sustainable development.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, ACE is based on the unique relationships reflected in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

ACE occurs alongside the formal education system and is therefore accessible to all.

It promotes a culture of lifelong learning. It happens in a wide range of contexts in both structured and spontaneous forms, all of which have their own value. There is joy in learning.

It may be initiated by individual and group needs which encourage adults to learn to understand their world and to seek change within it.

The nature of ACE makes it well suited to deliver effective programmes in:

  • Adult literacy and numeracy provision
  • English language and social support programmes for speakers of other languages
  • Personal development education
  • Learning for whanau/hapu/ iwi development
  • Cultural retention
  • Revitalisation of Maori language and culture
  • Education to facilitate group and community development
  • Education for social and environmental justice.
  • Currently ACE is funded by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), as providers through schools, TEIs, and PTEs or on a user pays basis. Many community providers of ACE are not funded by the TEC. They may be accessing some government funding through other government agencies, or relying on grants and/or voluntary input.