University Community Engagement and Lifelong Learning: The Porous University

University Community Engagement and Lifelong Learning: The Porous University
by Julia Preece / / / PDF


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This book offers a conceptual re-think of how university community engagement functions as a lifelong learning resource for communities. While having a specific focus on the South African context, it has important implications for other universities which are concerned with their communities, and makes a compelling argument for the university as a public good, in spite of current trends towards marketization and commodification of higher education. The book draws on a theoretical framework of capabilities, asset-based community development, and the adult learning concept of dialogue, to propose a model whereby the boundary walls of the university become metaphorically ‘porous’, so that community members feel free to interact with the university as equal members of society. A historical outline of African universities is provided, as well as an exploration of the evolution of terms for community engagement, service learning and learning cities; and an examination of the policy and practice implications for the ideological model of a porous university.

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