Community education is a concept that refers to educating a community. Primarily, a community is described as a group of people living in a certain environment or sharing a common background or interests. A community may also refer to an ethnic group living in scattered locations. Community can either be a multicultural environment where different tribes and cultures coexist or it can be a large and dense grouping of people from the same ethnic backgrounds. Community education is applicable to any kind of community. It focuses on multicultural environments as well as locations with a single ethnic group presence.
Saint Joseph's University
University of Southern California
Community education is believed to be most advantageous in some ways as compared to imparting knowledge to multiple communities at the same time. The objective of a community education is to educate the people of that particular community. Education then becomes community specific and territories define the curriculum for every community. However, community education is controlled by a state education authority that validates the curriculum. This is an important control that must be implemented in order to streamline education processes as a whole in a country. For instance, education in the United States falls under one major authority that legitimizes curriculum.
Community education essentially focuses on educating people in a community. The benefit of keeping and monitoring the education at a community level is that education can be customized as per the requirements of that particular community. Teaching methods can and will vary from community to community. A community education system may include a variety of new experimental methods depending on the students they have. Experimental methods should always be tested out in smaller groups as compared to large communities. Perhaps these methods might be better received in a community as opposed to being applied on a larger scale. Should a new concept of educating work successfully, it can then be recommended to other communities.
The types of study carried out in communities are also of significant interest. Sampling the communities can provide a true picture once the data is accumulated and communities compared and benchmarked. A good example of this can be of the study of diabetes. If conducted within different segments and communities, results will certainly vary. And if done in a large environment, a true picture of the root cause and impact might not be ascertained. Statistics per community can pinpoint wherever diabetes seems to be most problematic. Since the statistics is community based, preventive measures can be immediately done for a smaller segment as compared to a larger community. This is how awareness can be spread through community education. Thus, community education is essential and conducive for research and development.
Community education is also branched out into various specializations and fields of study. Some communities tend to have an edge over others for this reason. There are certain parameters that play a pivotal role in the overall success ratio of community education. The top three parameters are funding, number of volunteers available and availability of professional educators. Not all communities have these important deciding elements readily available for conducive research and proper propagation of community education. Sometimes, professional educators need to be hired to work in a particular community. Fortunately, there are many top professionals available in many parts of the world. The only major criterion for hiring them is the economic factor. In the United States for example, this is a practice that is commonly employed when professional teachers are required.
Trained professionals are available that can conduct community education. These professionals have the expertise and knowledge base to deliver quality content management and community education to the masses. In fact, almost all trained professionals in the market are licensed and can impart well managed and standardized community education. Several organizations conduct professional training onsite and certify teachers that have worked extensively with them in different volunteer roles. Research firms also tend to only hire trained professionals and certified teachers in the community education programs. Firms do occasionally hire non certified staff, but they are not considered to be professional operators, and therefore, cannot expect to receive standard remuneration. If a community education setup wishes to achieve excellence, qualified individuals are required. In most cases, there is adequate funding that allows community education setups to hire professionals.