For the past few months, I have been learning about Community Colleges, since I am mandated to establish community colleges as part of my present project. Community Colleges have different shapes and mandates in different parts of the world. I would like to share the concept of a community college in my mind to trigger some discussions on the topic for getting your invaluable inputs.
By the name itself, community colleges are mandated to place community at the central position. It also means that community participation is highly essential in managing community colleges. It will not work by just running an institution in favour of the community – such institutions will very soon become like any other regular academic institution as it is a passive approach.
How do community colleges differ from other academic institutions? I believe, community colleges should be able to cater to the learning needs of the local community for living in harmony and working for further prosperity. It would chiefly involve:
- Imparting knowledge and skills for ensuring a healthy and pleasant living environment in the community.
- Producing skilled persons to attend the various kinds of service needs of the community
- Promote entrepreneurship in the community (social entrepreneurship and self help groups?)
- Promote the functioning of local industries by supplying sufficient trained manpower.
- Capacitate the community members to grab the existing as well as emerging job opportunities locally as well as outside (4 and 5 has to be mutually complementary).
The needs of the community should be organically absorbed into the working strategies of the community colleges on real-time though active participation of the community in its management. Similarly, there should be substantial opportunity to use locally available expertise in transacting various courses. It will also help to strengthen the bondages within the community.
Definitely it is a challenging mission as it is dynamic at every moment of its existence!
Please share your thoughts and pointers to successful models