What is Community Education?
The Department of Education & Skills guidelines for Community Education Services define community education as being ‘outside the formal education sector, with the aims of enhancing learning, fostering empowerment and contributing to civic society. It is located in communities which can be area-based or issue based, or around some other value. (Department of Education & Skills Operational Guidelines for Community Education 2012)
What is the KWETB CES mission statement?
The mission of the KWETB Community Education Service is to enhance learning, foster empowerment and contribute to civic society through working collectively and addressing social exclusion in order to improve the quality of personal, family and community life and contribute to equality and social justice.
What are the guiding principles?
- Learner Centred
- Accessible and Inclusive
- Recognises and Accommodates Diversity
- Quality Assurance
- Local Consultation and an Area Based Approach
(Department of Education & Skills Operational Guidelines for Community Education 2012)
What are the characteristics of Community Education?
- We work along a continuum from Personal Development to Community Development to Social Analysis.
- We try to increase participation in learning by adults experiencing education and social disadvantage.
- We outreach to groups and areas.
- We focus on self-directed learning, critical thinking and learning to learn skills.
- We use a developmental approach
- We include formal and informal learning to build confidence of those with low skills or a negative experience of formal education.
- Group work is a key methodology
- We support not for profit community education groups to address the needs of their community
- We support the networking of groups.
- We focus on group learning and collective action for social development.
- We support learners to overcome barriers to participation.
- We work in partnership with groups, agencies and other government departments to ensure a coherent response and best use of resources.
- Our projects are mainly unaccredited with participants being referred through the Guidance Service for accredited courses.
- We develop progression pathways for individuals and groups.
- The outcomes for Community Education are both qualitative and quantitative. The qualitative wider benefits of learning can be grouped as follows: a) personal development b) health and wellbeing c) family and community d) education and employment.
What are the benefits of getting involved?
The right to education is a fundamental human right for everyone. For many adults their school experience was a negative one and prevented them completing their education. A Community Education programme can be the first point of re engaging with education. Community Education brings personal and community benefits such as
Self-confidence, increased skills and knowledge, a stepping stone to further education, new friends, new interests, improved health, positive impact on other family members.
It is an opportunity to meet others, to increase your capacity to become more involved in your community and to work towards a more equal and inclusive community and society for all.
What kind of groups are involved?
We work with adults who are over 16 years and have left full time education. Some of the groups we work with include locally based Women’s groups, Men’s Groups, Community Education groups, Networks, Community Development Project’s, Family Resource Centres, Traveller projects, Asylum Seeker and Refugee projects, Parenting Projects, Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender Groups and Older People’s Groups.
What help is available for groups?
We can help you to:
- Develop your group
- Develop a course or project
- Source tutors
- Access funding
- Offer your group leaders in-service training
- Link with other groups
What kind of projects can be supported?
Many times groups ask ‘what courses do you offer/fund?’ We do not have a list of courses that we ‘only’ fund, instead we want to talk to you about what your group has identified as their most pressing need and we will work with you to address that need.
Look at our Group Projects to see what we have worked on recently.