The second in a series of reflections on Komunibersidad.

Komunibersidad directly refers to how community and university relate to each other. But this relationship is best explored within the framework of lifelong learning.

The concept of lifelong learning has undergone and continues to undergo an evolution.

The most elementary understanding of lifelong learning is similar to the idea of “continuing professional education.” After all, finishing even the best course in the best school does not excuse graduates from having to keep up with the developments in their field.

The late Vic Ordonez posed the challenge more bluntly. He said that by the time graduates finish their four-year university course, half of what they have learned is already outmoded, and half of what they need to learn has not yet been written in any textbook.

And yet, this understanding of lifelong learning has been considered too narrowly “linear” by  many educators. They propose to complement it with the concept of “life-wide learning.”

What does “life-wide” want to emphasize? If lifelong learning connotes continuously learning time after time, life-wide learning points to the need to learn from all aspects of life, about all aspects of life.

This idea of “life-wide” learning reminds me of the report submitted by Jacques Delors to UNESCO about Learning into the 21st Century. He identifies four clusters of learning that are needed, like four pillars of a bridge into the future – learning to be, learning to do, learning to learn, and learning to live together. Here is a poster I made:

The idea of learning about all aspects of life, from all aspects of life leads us to go beyond the usual distinction of education and learning into “formal, non-formal, and informal.”

Instead, we can use what I consider a more appropriate classification – school-based, center-based, community-based, enterprise-based, home-based, web-based.

That’s why when Bicol University asked me to talk about lifelong learning as the philosophical framework for extension service programs of universities, I introduced the idea of Komunibersidad,

Komunibersidad asks us to understand extension services as more than the application to communities of whatever learning has been generated in the university. Instead, we should also see communities as sites and sources of learning that can contribute to the university’s mission of research and instruction.

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