Community Education

A lot of us are visionaries in the South, & we need to be supported by an alternative focus – as we plunge towards a fast changing future. This article is about Community Education.
Community Education (otherwise referred to as ‘CE’) is about resourcing and empowering groups of people in ​our community.

The role of CE is to increase the capacity of individuals and groups to improve their ​own community’s ​well-being. What do I mean?
Firstly increasing their capacity to voice what actually may or may not be “improvement”; then following from there increasing their capacity to determine what may or may not be to their “well-being”; then having become educated and motivated and confident enough to be that involved in their community I should imagine the actions required to actually achieve improvement will follow quite naturally.

And here we have in a nutshell the philosophical ideals behind the notion of education itself – knowledge, recognition, voice, motivation, action.

The role of CE is to increase the capacity of individuals and groups to improve their ​own community’s ​well-being.  What do I mean?  Firstly increasing their capacity to voice what actually may or may not be “improvement”; then following from there increasing their capacity to determine what may or may not be to their “well-being”; then having become educated and motivated and confident enough to be that involved in their community I should imagine the actions required to actually achieve improvement will follow quite naturally.  

And here we have in a nutshell the philosophical ideals behind the notion of education itself – knowledge, recognition, voice, motivation, action.

Keeping things practical though the key factors are ‘motivation through free access to information’ & promoting local trading within the region.  “Local trade” provides stimulus and motivation by increasing resources; increased resources  improves quality of life and gives access to increased choices; increased choices & resources & quality of life fuels motivation to harness and utilize free information.

It’s the circle of life from both directions…we may even be able to get Elton John involved who knows.  Though please don’t start calling me Mufasa or Simba; I’m more like Rafiki minus the martial arts. 

A very practical question I would like us to ask in the development and implementation of any vision we share for and with our community is –

How can we strengthen our local economy, values and motivations – while also continuing to remain strong in supplying outside markets through export & services?  

How do we keep the grass growing strong and green and lush, whilst at the same time grow the forest canopy…how can we be down here and up there at the same time?  Might I suggest that is exactly why councils exist…to pull that off.  And my intention is nothing short of providing the leadership and vision to pull that very thing off splendidly; as indeed our soon to vacate Mayor of many years, Tim Shadbolt has done.

If we will build local infrastructure & wellbeing, as well as continue to establish lucrative relationships and channels through external markets we will certainly be heading in the right direction.


Yet it is obviously easier said than done.  Where might we start?

Well as in the circle of life, we see that the future of the pride depends on more than Elton…more than the big guy with the rings and grand theme song.

Remember I’m talking about CE.  Now what might be our “Scar” so to speak, our bad lion that creates an imbalance in the circle of life and opens up the pride of Southland to tension between local considerations and external motivations?

If we had a vote now with all the people of the community here to tell us, among other culprits I guarantee one of the main bad lions would be – 


Regulatory Council services can be effective in making sure that all of the rules; regulations, obligations, legislations, & controls are in place for the legal functioning of an initiative.​ This is something our Councils are thoroughly adept at.  

Regulations & controls are often beneficial with regards to ensuring quality building, registered licensing & safe practices – but mysteriously complex to navigate successfully through in regards to bringing any new initiative to fruition, 



Many of the documents that we must abide by have a massive amount of clauses in them – that state what is acceptable for safe practise, longevity, ​or to face environmental issues, etc. The rules have been written for a reason, but there are too many rules for one person to abide by in isolation!



The processes for approval are exclusionary, because in the end they only support people who are cashed up & have the longevity to pursue & complete long – drawn out processes.  



Without sufficient local community services – higher education, lawyers, input from various other consultants are required.  When we just tolerate complex processes, outsiders can more easily profit from investing in Southland than everyday  locals can – yet these ‘investor types’ remain in a detached situation from our region – living & spending else-ware, often reinvesting profits else-ware.


Having complex Council processes without internal support removes key opportunities for our regional growth. 


While investment from large industry & businesses does bring direct employment to Invercargill, supplying many jobs, where people can live on a fixed salary. The startup of local services that thrive remains scarce. Without a shift in our model, the majority of day to day lifestyle realities in Invercargill will remain the same.



We want to encourage local people to belong to and build local community; actively engaging in, and being motivated to serve the interests of neighbours.  



Can we even say “OUR” community, when it functions at an exclusionary level?  A lot of us are tired of living under the laws, constantly wondering if we are going to be fined, or told that we have not considered all of the legal requirements involved in creating our ideas. Sometimes the rules get so overwhelming that motivated people question whether they really want to expend the energy and funds, trying to ‘get all their ducks in a row’.



I believe that Community Education can ​be ​taken to a​ whole​ new level in our local government, where it is used in all departments, so that local people who pay rates (directly or indirectly) can​ be empowered to create extraordinary solutions. 


The role of CE is to focus on ​providing educational resources to local people, so that they can succeed (even when there are complex Acts involved, and lots of factors to consider).  

What we want to do is ​enhance the capacity of a Southlander to go for ​opportunities​. Community Education is to be a massive part of bringing a higher standard of living for Southlanders – by resourcing the public & streamlining processes for them.



Community Education is outreach and development work, that aims to solve human needs. It considers laws and commonly accepted wellbeing practises, but also looks to disrupt mainstream & existing ways of developing a city or region [refer to ‘Disruptive Innovation’], with a concern for the wider holistic development of communities – socio-economically, environmentally, culturally and civic concerns (everyday running of a community). 


Community Education is:

  • An area that works to empower the people who are locals in that area.
  • Designed resources for people who live in a zone to easily access core information, licensing & permits to conduct economic activities.


Community Education in Southland is about setting Council priorities, so regulations can be easily met by a larger portion of our communities, because people are resourced, and therefore empowered to succeed when they develop a new initiative.


​CE should be able to improve the lives of those people who are disadvantaged. Council communication methods should be understandable to people with low-literacy, low-education levels, and for low-budget community organisations and groups. 


Our challenge is to develop a plan for how we can increase community belonging, engagement, motivation & hope by empowering people; through presents of information they need to live in well-being [by making information that is already established and available useful and accessible to everyone in our community]. 

 I need to emphasise here that “empowering” is a relative and abstract noun with no “one size fits all” meaning.  Yet, the increasing of community belonging, engagement and motivation is a practical matter, achievable, quantifiable & will naturally result in something that each in their own way will be able to recognise as “empowerment”.


Community Education Goal:

  • Support local people by improving the distribution of information, so locals have a very good chance to establish thriving local services.
  • Establish local services, & streamline processes which work best for any goods distributed locally within the region. Local transactions are to be favored, over those which are being sent outside the territory. 

People who live within the region & who have the rights to establish a business or service, or conduct construction projects have superior access to information & approval to outsiders. 



Local people are direct rate payers, or those who support rate payers (by renting local accommodation facilities & trading within the region), so they are in effect paying for Council services – they should have the rights to have first access to information & services. 

  • If a non-Southlander wants to establish services in the region, then they would be best off moving into the region, where they can more easily establish & grow their local business by being personally involved in the community & with Council support.
  • If an international person want to establish services in the region, then they can stay in the region until they become recognised as a local person – at which point they have the equal opportunity to others who are loyal.


Local activity, & local business will create more work for young people growing up, & also for internationals who come into the region to study. 



Currently, we seem to be setting up consent & approval processes for established businesses & large corporations who buy into our area because of our productive land, ocean resources, minerals & power options – then invest their income elseware

What we want is local people who will serve locals as well as national & international markets, then more profits will stay with the people.

Where your heart is, there your treasure is also.


We want local people who open businesses to benefit because they pay for the Council, so the Council equips them to succeed.


What do you want to establish?

How do you want your life to run?



  • Teach core skills

  • Strengthen community networks

  • Encourage problem solving around solving core needs in building, access to nutritional food, wellbeing, etc.

  • Bring publicly available information to larger audiences by presenting documents, policies and resources so that a larger portion of the community can understand them [targeting those with low-literacy, and culturally diverse groups]

  • Build community capacity

  • Equip people to manage their personal, social and educational development .
  • Empower people with key information that increases their capacity to gain a voice, influence and place in society

  • Build confidence, understanding and skills required to influence decision making and service delivery

  • Raise standards of achievement

• Social transformation
• Social justice
• Collaboration
• Being equalities-focused
• Embracing diverse communities and their best interest
• Increasing an individual ‘s capacity to enhance their quality of life and sphere of influence.
• Displaying knowledge effectively


  1. The Invercargill City Council, Community Education

  2. Wikipedia:
  3. ^ Working and Learning Together to Build Stronger Communities, Scottish Government Guidance for Community Learning and Development, 2004 seen at the Community Learning and Development, Scottish Government Website.
  4. ^ The Competences for Community Learning & Development, 2009 seen at “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2012-12-24. Retrieved 2009-12-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link), CLD Standards Council Website.
  5. ^ Wisconsin’s Components of Community Education Archived 2008-06-29 at the Wayback Machine, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  6. ^ Community Education Principles Archived 2008-09-17 at the Wayback Machine, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  7. ^ Elaine, Gereluk, Dressler, Roswita; Sandra, Eaton, Sarah; Dianne; Dressler; Becker (April 30, 2017). “A rural education teacher preparation program: course design, student support and engagement”. ERIC, EBSCOhost: 1–15 – via ERIC.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ a b c Auerbach, Susan (May 2007). “From moral supporters to struggling advocates – Reconceptualizing parent roles in education through the experience of working-class families of color”. Web of Science. 42: 250–283 – via Social Sciences Citation Index.
  9. ^ Ward & Craig, Heneveld & Helen (1996). Schools count: World Bank project designs and the quality of primary education in Sub-Saharan Africa. United States: World Bank. pp. 11–70.
  10. ^ Seginer, Rachel (Spring 2006). “Parents’ Educational Involvement: A Developmental Ecology Perspective”. Parenting: Science and Practice. 6: 1–48 – via Academic Search Complete.
  11. ^ a b c d e Lopez, Scribner & Mahitivanichcha, Gerardo, Jay $ Kanya (Summer 2001). “Redefining Parental Involvement: Lessons from High-Performing Migrant-Impacted Schools”. American Educational Research Journal. 38: 253–288. JSTOR 3202459.
  12. ^ a b c d Hornby & Lafaele, Garry & Rayleen (February 2011). “Barriers to parental involvement in education: an explanatory model”. Education Review. 63: 37–52 – via Academic Search Complete.

Web links

Further reading

  • Jeffs, Tony. (2005). Informal Education: Conversation, Democracy and Learning. Nottingham: Educational Heretics Press. ISBN 1-900219-29-8.
  • Tett, Lyn (2006). Community Education, Lifelong Learning & Social Inclusion. Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press. ISBN 1-903765-56-0.
  • McConnell, Charlie (2002). Community Learning and Development: The Making of an Empowering Profession. Edinburgh: Community Learning Scotland/PAULO. ISBN 0-947919-75-9.
  • Packham, Carol (2008). Active Citizenship & Community Learning. Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84445-152-4.

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  • Educational stages
  • Adult education