Historically, CEP endeavored to provide community education opportunities for the community in the KwaZulu-Naral Midlands at all levels, informally, non-formally as well as formally. In the past couple of years and with so much emphasis on formal education very few resources were available to pursue the informal and non-formal education aspects. CEP therefore seek to advance all forms of community education and community-based learning through service learning (SL) and finally to advance Afrocentrism as a philosophy that informs practice and research.
Afrocentrism implores scholars and researchers to make certain decisions upfront such as embracing indigenous institutional arrangements, indigenous knowledge systems and commitment to the humanization of the African person.
South African is in the process of implementing new policy on post-school education. Post school education seeks to respond to the many challenges facing our country around unemployment, inequality and poverty, particularly affecting large numbers of young people, through Community Colleges. According to the Education and Training Act, 2013 (Act No. 1 of 2013) Community Education and Training Colleges (CETCs) will ‘offer formal and informal programmes on a wide range of areas, on a ‘needs’ basis, aligned strongly to local context, and to employment and community development opportunities in these contexts’ (p.6). The underpinning principles of the Act are lifelong learning; the holistic nature of learning; embracing the values of open and democratic society; promotion of human rights; promotion of full human potential; appreciation of diversity; and promotion of adult learning and literacy.
The CEP seeks to ensure that CETC implementation is not only successful but that it also achieves its goals and that the beneficiaries are continuously critically engaged with the process. The major role of CEP is to create opportunities for post-graduate students to critically engage through research with the process of the establishment of the CETC; curriculum issues (formal, informal & non-formal); governance issues; and community and institutional relations to name but a few. This CEP project will be undertaken in collaboration with KZN Community Education & Training College Council; KZN CETC staff; local NGO’s; CBO’s and Social Movements.
The second CEP research project focusses on formal education focusing on service learning (SL). In South Africa, over the past couple of decades there has been more published research on service-learning, largely focused on descriptive studies, which document how service-learning is practiced and received in this country. There is a need for research that moves beyond these limits. Furthermore, there are very limited service learning research studies beyond the SA borders. The project involves multi-disciplinary research that involves other disciplines that are offering SL as well as disciplines that collaborate in the offering of the Community Based Work with Children and Youth (CBWCY) certificate (pre-university) course offered by UKZN to over ten African countries such as Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Mozambique, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.