Community Development Projects in Higher Education: Enhancing Civic Engagement through service-learning.
This seminar focuses on community engagement, with a special emphasis on service learning as a teaching pedagogy in higher education. Discussion will follow on the significance of service learning to all stakeholders, namely, students, community, government, faculty and institutions of higher education. Service learning is a facet of community engagement, and the reasons why service learning should be part of the university curriculum and how can it be incorporated into business, as well as social science courses is presented. A few projects will be discussed as case studies with the purpose of understanding the expression of this promising teaching pedagogy. ‘Although service learning is an educational endeavor focusing on knowledge and skills in a formal manner, the emergence of dispositions and qualities became more overt for students during the life of the project.’ (Scholtz; 2020) The value of the experience of learning for students, outside of the classroom is immeasurable. Students are exposed to a hint of the real world, and that, in a safe space. The value of an authentic learning experience is unlikely to be afforded in the traditional classroom scenario. The idea of linking the classroom with practice, is an idea of worldwide potency (Tonkin; 2004) This seminar attempts to demonstrate how service-learning is a teaching strategy increasingly used globally within higher education. This is so since studies revealed, both in the United States, Europe and South Africa, the multifarious benefits of producing civic-minded graduates.