Education is the key to success and prosperity in the modern world, because it is one of the most essential elements of people’s life. However, since a certain part of population failed to be educated, the necessity in adult education appeared.
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The means that is practiced most often in the modern world, the so-called community-based education, or CBAE, is considered “an educational process by which individuals (in this case adults) become more competent in their skills, attitudes, and concepts in an effort to live in and gain more control over local aspects of their communities through democratic participation,” according to Galbraith (para.10).
Being an effective means to help adults obtain the required minimum of knowledge, CBAE has developed from the strategy that used to be narrowed down to a range of elements into a functional set of strategies that have an impressive effect and contribute to the adult education enforcement.
It is essential to stress that, throughout the course of its development, CBAE strategy has developed into a complex issue which includes a number of aspects, and has turned into an Integrated Community-Based Adult Education (ICBAE). Incorporating various elements, it allows to train the necessary skills that will help an adult to develop his/her professional skills.
Basing on multiple issues, as Aspin claims, ICBAE approach is based on such principles as “community participation, empowerment, ownership and sustainability” (Aspin 673). To understand the way the CBAE strategy works, it is necessary to consider each element of CBAE strategy structure in particular.
Speaking of the community participation, one must mark that the given element is the essence of CBAE, since it is the community that takes care of the organization and the implementation of the CBAE strategies. As Hamilton explains, with the help of the active participation of the community members, the financial support that makes CBAE organizations independent from the government funds can be obtained (43).
Another principle that the CBAE is based on, empowerment, or “the promotion of self-actualization or influence” (Rubenson 133), which concerns rather psychological issues than the educational ones, is also of great importance for the process of adult education. Placed at the top of Maslow Hierarchy of Needs (Boeree 2006), this element contributes to the self-esteem of the participants.
With the help of the ownership principle, CBAE process becomes more flexible and can be easily adapted to the needs and wants of the students, which is quite significant for adults. Adults prefer studying when being able to adjust the curriculum to their working schedule and feel that they have the control over the process. As Preston comments, “negotiating courses were fundamental to creating a sense of ownership of the learning process” (92).
The last, but not the least, the principle of CBAE sustainability presupposes that the system has to be stable. However, according to Wills, McKenzie and Harris, CBAE “tends to be marginalized in favor of formal educational interventions” (212), which gives reasons for concerns. It is essential that CBAE could provide full range of knowledge.
Despite its relatively recent origins, the CBAE program has already driven to certain results. Implemented in the developing countries like Tanzania, the given program allowed a considerable number of people over 19 to obtain necessary knowledge. As the report claims, the results have surpassed expectations: “more than one million adults above 19 years of age have improved their literacy skills, established income generating projects and credit schemes through ICBAE” (Swarts and Mwiyeria 18).
In addition, it is necessary to mark that “ensuring all regions have ICBAE programmes by 2005” (MoEVT) has been fully achieved, according to what Swarts and Mwiyeria say in their report. Therefore, it can be deduced that the CBAE methods prove efficient and that the strategy requires further promotion into the other developing countries.
Moreover, it is essential that the people who have partaken in the CBAE programs have acquired a number of useful skills, according to the observation conducted by Turner, Wial, Pindus and Wolman. As the researchers explain, CBAE allows adults learn to apply certain skills to practice efficiently: “community colleges are better prepared to offer a great variety of upgrade training, retraining, and remedial training, as well as the initial preparation for the workforce, to a wide range of population” (Turner, Wial, Pindus and Wolman 135).
Another important aspect of the CBAE concerns the controversies within the process. According to Clover, the racism issue is on the agenda of the modern CBAE system; moreover, some of the implications are hidden and barely conscious: “For example, colors or words people use to describe things can have underlying unconscious racist assumptions or implications” (Clover 48).
Nevertheless, CBAE is currently trying to solve the given complexity, as well as the one concerning the gender issue, providing equality of opportunity “between men and women” (Reisenberg and Dadize 1).
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To demonstrate the efficiency of the CBAE, several examples are required. One of the most successful ones, an Evidence-Based Adult Education Model, had quite impressive results. According to Comings and Scoricone, the given approach “intends to enable its adult learners to improve their reading comprehension skills, so that they may then also improve their economic condition” (15).
Another successful implementation of CBAE is the Freirean CBAE (Matheson and Matheson). The given model has been practiced to help the dwellers of foreign countries taking into account the main features of their culture. As Matheson and Matheson explain, “In Latin America, the success of Freire’s method has given rise to numerous programes directed towards urban and rural underprivileged populations” (149).
Considering the third program, one may say that such name as SUCCESS CBAE (Alfred 179) speaks for itself. Put into practice in 1992 and still being in progress, the United Chinese Community Enrichment Services Society eliminated the dramatic effects of the unreasonable policy conducted before and facilitated citizenship education in the most effective way (Alfred 182). Hence, it is evident that CBAE is an essential part of the contemporary education. Helping people to obtain necessary knowledge, it offers prospects for the future.
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