Introduction: The need to develop closer link between education and the community has been a growing concern in the educational programs as well as developmental plans of both developed and developing countries. Only education can imbue people with the knowledge, the sense of purpose, and confidence essential for building a dynamic, vibrant and cohesive nation capable of providing its people with adequate skill and means for creating a better, fuller and more purposeful life. In our country, where the vast majority of the people lives in the darkness of illiteracy, particularly in rural areas, how can we expect development?
Concept of Education: The term ‘education’ means to bring to rear and to foster. Education in it’s real sense is not confined to mere schooling. It includes under it all the processes by which an individual is adjusted to his whole ambit of existence. Thus, true education provides assistance to live a life properly and perfectly. It has two types of aims—the vocational aims and the knowledge aims. The vocational aims glorifies material possessions and the knowledge aims intellectual possessions. However, a true education aims at harmonious development of all the faculties and powers of man—physical, intellectual, moral and aesthetic.
Concept of community development: In general, community development implies that outside agencies may help to develop a community but the actual effort is to come from the members of the community concerned. It envisages not only the sanctions but the whole-hearted support and participation of the poverty-stricken people. Here, the people themselves have to accept and execute the programe for their own well being. It aims at developing the potentiality and ability of the people to control their environment, helping in acquiring new skills of association, of organization, of communication, inculcating a sense of citizenship, introducing and strengthening democracy at the grassroots, initiating self generative and enduring process of growth.
Another implication for community development is that development programs should grow out of felting needs of the people. Because, once the community realizes it’s felt needs, it’s energy and resources would be directed in completing the project with natural spontaneity.
Education and community development:
An interrelationship The relationship between education and community development is dialectical each effected by and effecting the other. Such as, First, any worthwhile change in the target community requires raised awareness and motivation, changed attitudes and patterns of behavior. Education, on the other hand, generate social change by—
a. Changing the values and aspirations of the participants;
b. Changing opportunity structure, and
c. Introducing knowledge and skills of communication.
Second, education equips individuals with the sense of independence and adventure essential for encouraging initiative self help and material help and for making these more effective. It gives a greater capacity for discrimination and judgement whereby people can make their own choice for their role in the community. So, education is essential for building human capabilities and for opening opportunities.
Third, a community development project is cooperative rather than controlling activity. It requires cooperation among the community members. Education inculcates the qualities necessary for living graciously, harmoniously, and efficiently with one’s fellowmen. It provides the essential conditions for successful group work as a discipline, cooperation, social sensitiveness, and tolerance.
Fourth, education plays a vital role in building up human capital i.e., the stock of useful. valuable and relevant knowledge built up in the process of education and training. It increases the productivity for workers to earn higher wages in the labor market.
Fifth, the social benefits of development spread in many directions which is much broader than the benefits ascribed by the narrow economic approach to development. Almost all the areas of community development are inescapably implicated with community education which makes the community members conscious about their rights and duties, needs, problems and prospects.
After all, education leads to better health care reduced family size, greater community and political participation, conscious and active citizenship, a greater reducing of absolute poverty, equitable economic growth and broad base of community participation in local decision making. So, success of community development depends on literacy and literacy itself should be a prime concern of community development. Development work in literacy must go hand in hand with community development program.
Community development and literacy in Bangladesh
A. Problems: There are various constraints that impinge upon the success of community development efforts. Among them, some notable obstacles are as under:
1. Fatalistic outlook of community members: Bangladesh as a tradition-bound country, it’s population think their subhuman life as the fate. They tend to avoid novelty and change. They do not show enthusiasm to community initiatives.
2. Lack of participatory orientation: The people in our rural community show little interest in the development process and the degree of their spontaneous participation is very low.
3. Lack of leadership and institutions: Community development envisages community initiative which deserve change and development oriented leadership and institutions to motivate and organize the people. Our local communities are lacking such leadership and institutions.
4. Improper involvement of women: The participation of women in the process of development is not enough. Even their incorporation in development process is very difficult because of their age-old beliefs, myths and religious sanctions.
5. Illiteracy: As vast majority of our people are illiterate, their capacity to initiate any disciplined, cooperative and community based development programe is very limited.
6. Traditional system of education: Our education is not production oriented. It has failed to link education and work opportunity. Thus, education in our country does not seems to contribute to the development of communities. So, vocational Training should incorporate with our existing educational programs.
B. Prospects: The economy of Bangladesh with a large and rapidly growing population (above 14 crore) and low per-capita income, reveals conditions of object poverty for the majority of people.
In the backdrop of such a condition of economy and literacy, the existing education system, as well as the methods and approaches of development, seem to be reconsidered. Thus, the national and international development planners and specialists are pressing stress on the need for community driver education and training to gear up the development of the nation. So, the need for education may be justified under following heads:
1. Community awareness: As people’s outlook in our country is fatalistic and their consciousness about their way of life is very limited, growing community awareness should be the prime concern of our development works. Thus, to shatter the myths of the project community’s age-old beliefs. attitudes, behaviours and images and to create a deeper understanding of the benefits of development, there is no alternative to the spread of education.
2. Community participation: Community development requires participation of the people themselves in efforts to improve their level of living with as much reliance as possible on their own initiatives. Due to illiteracy and unconsciousness, community participation in development is very low in our country. Thus, community driven education and training may help our people to understand the benefits of development and the need for their participation. Thus, helping people to help themselves through acquiring education and training must be prime motive of our development programs.
3. Community initiative: Community development presupposes the regeneration of community resources for the well-being of community members by themselves. Due to illiteracy, we are lacking trained community leadership and thus scope for community initiative is very limited. So, prime motive of our community development programs should be to educate, guide and assist the people for good citizenship by developing, amongst other things, their talent potentialities, encouraging their initiative and civic consciousness and evoking the desire for self-help and community actions.
4. Application of science and technology: Community development must have faith in science and technology. Improvement of health and sanitation, communication and housing, irrigation and drainage, soil fertility and conservation, these all require the applications of more advanced scientific and technological practices.
So, it is the community development to provide necessary training to the community members so that they can take advantage of science and technology. It is to mention here that an educated person can easily internalize the new processes and techniques and take advantage more efficiently.
5. Community participation in literacy programs: Literacy itself is a prime concern of community development. Community could play an active role in the development of educational institutions, their management, organization, and resource mobilization. In this domain, only educated persons can play an active role in the organization and management of community schools. There was a time when high degree of community participation used to prevail in primary schools particularly in respect of organization, management and resource mobilization. But things has changed a lot with centralization and nationalization of primary education system. However, this has further strengthened to view that without community participation, no significant improvement can be made in this area.
6. School Community interaction: The positive interaction between school and community is important for development of a community. In this context, the education system must be development-oriented which envisages the following aspects:
a. a community-based curriculum providing children with sound knowledge of their locality and its ecological potential and inculcating positive norms and values considered central to the community in question. b. The school identifying and exploiting opportunities to link education within the community:
c. As a service to the community, the school must find solutions to the problems besetting the community. In our country, we also can use our school buildings and houses as complementary to development programs and initiatives. Besides, schools may undertake programs in the field of plantation, cleanliness, awareness building, etc. which may help to change the society and community.
One regarded as an essentially conservative, culture preserving, culture transmitting institution, the educational system now tends to be viewed as the master determinant of all the aspects of change and development. For the development of a country like ours, priority should be given to community-driven education which would create the forum, structure and environment within which young people can develop a clear and realistic vision for themselves and strengthen their sense of social and civic responsibility.