There could be different concepts associated with the term “Community Education “. The fourth International Conference of the International Community Education Association (ICEA) held in 1983 described Community Education as “an educational philosophy and a means to bring about constructive educational and social changes, which in turn affect the world’s political, social and economic structures”. According to participants of the conference, the goals of community education are to raise the consciousness and enhance the initiative of people in solving their problems in the spirit of self-reliance and self determination. It is to stimulate people individually and collectively to use and develop the process and resources of education as a means of personal and community development.
In the context of ASE community education is embarrassed in a wide range of activities including:
- Forming Community Learning Forum – which is a grassroots level community platforms, in which social learning & livelihood based literacy are among the key components. Please see CoLF for detail information
- Public Education – educating the public on selected issues in social or religious forums using a number of mass media technologies.
- Distance Education: running correspondence education programs for marginalized community groups such as prisons inmates, farmers less attended by extension agents etc. The focus of the distance education programs is on skill oriented and duty minded agricultural courses. Local partners, mainly from the departments of agriculture and ATVET are participating as mentors and tutors
- Radio Education for the Rural Mass (REFORM) – This include three programs/Strategies. The first one is Community Radio Programs for which ASE was the pioneer to support community groups’ form Community Radio Association and establish community Radio Station in Amaro. The second strategy is through establishing partnership with the educational mass media program of the Ministry of Education. The third strategy is sharing ASE’s experiences to the wider audience through partnering with Radio programs that have a national coverage.
- Supporting Access schools: Access schools are those schools formed to meet the educational needs of school aged children in marginalized places (often because of distance and infrastructure), who have very little or no access to primary education. The type of support include: building access schools, supplying educational materials, training of facilitators from the local area, developing educational programs that responds to the socio-economic features of the rural area and creating effective linkages with the formal school system. This program is implemented in close collaboration with the woreda office of Education. ASE, with the financial and technical support of Action Aid Ethiopia was the pioneer of this educational program in the Amhara region (Lallo Mama Mider woreda). The good news is that this strategy is now fully taken by the government both at regional and national level Ethiopia
- Supporting maintenance of formal schools: This is again part of ASE support that is extended to children education. However this support is directed to the formal government schools which might have very poor structures and facilities, thus the teaching and learning environment remains less inviting. Improving the facilities and structure has shown positive impacts in increasing enrolment rates.