On 24th November 2014, the Centre for Lifelong Learning conducted a stakeholders’ consultative meeting on Community Learning Centres (CLC) based on the Japenese Kominkan experiences. The aim of the meeting was to indentify the learning needs of slum dwellers in the Makerere neighbourhood.
Kominkan are social education facilities based on the concept of mutual teaching and learning by local residents. Kominkan was created in Japan after World War 2 to make local people cope and recover from the impact of war.
The majority of Kominkan offer such things as space for class and meetings, reading rooms, kitchens, day care facilities, audio-visual rooms and sports facilities. The Kominkan pursue their activities in tandem with schools and other social education facilities (libraries, museums), social education organisations (NGOs) and other citizen’s groups and related government institutions.
The meeting was attended by representatives of LC 1 officials from the various villages in the suburbs surrounding Makerere University, Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA), Here is Life, Uganda Literacy and Adult Learners Association and staff members of CEES.
Dr Willy Ngaka the Coordinator Centre for Lifelong Learning noted that the challenges non-literate communities in Uganda face in the now rapidly globalizing and knowledge based economies can only be addressed through promoting learning as a lifelong and life wide process.
Representing the CEES Principal, Mr Michael Walimbwa welcomed participants and thanked Dr Ngaka for sharing the concept he had picked from UNESCO’s Kominkan- CLC International Conference on Education for Sustainable development (ESD) in Okayama City, Japan. He noted that because we are in a knowledge society, learning was no longer a classroom activity and that universities were being called to engage communities. “Each person has a unique expertise. This project will bring about the sharing of skills and knowledge between the University and community members for mutual benefit,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Executive Director KCCA Ms Jennifer Musisi, Ms Janet Kajara said KCCA was interested in the project and would support the community members when they demonstrate various start up initiatives.
Community members observed that there was a lack of knowledge to sustain programs beyond donor funding and requested that the sustainability of the project be considered. It was also noted that there was a great need for basic education (literacy and numeracy) among the urban poor and that short courses would be designed by the CLL to up skill community members. The community leaders registered their interest in the project and said they would organise their members into groups to assess their learning needs and opportunities for small projects. A follow up meeting will be held in which a taskforce will be established to spearhead the project.
The CLC Conference 2014 produced a document, the “Okayama Commitment on Education for Sustainable development,” in which delegates expressed their commitment to continuing and expanding Education for Sustainable Development though community based learning. The document is being used to engage learners, managers and governments in a dialogue towards developing concrete policies and actions. The CLC conference envisaged that in post 2015, education would be: integrated, intergenerational, cross-cultural, multilingual, and lifelong and life wide.