The concept of the “Community University” (CU) was first advocated by Professor Huang Wu-hsiung of National Taiwan University, the leader of the April 10th rally for educational reform in 1994. Based upon the rationale of educational reform as the foundation for social reconstruction, the CU’s vision is twofold: 1) the liberalization of knowledge and 2) the formation of civil society. In other words, the CU aims to cultivate citizens to adjust themselves to the modern society. Also its significance is to introduce the perspective of holistic human learning to higher education. The CU designs its curricula and learning activities in a humanistic perspective, especially with a focus of connecting people to their communities. That is to say, the CU is an experiment to combine the social reconstruction and educational reform. We welcome all people to join us. People at the age of 18 or above are eligible to enroll in the courses. Certificates will be offered as long as the credits are fulfilled. The curricula of the CU are framed into three categories: academic courses, living skill courses and group activity courses. There are 83 CUs nationwide as of October 2014.
Based on the Civil Association Act this Association was established as a non-profit social group. The establishment was in July 1999 by scholars, group leaders, physicians, attorneys and artists who care about social and educational reforms. Its aim is to encourage citizen learning, promote the concept of a Community University, help its establishment and integrate resources from society into the university. There are four educational objectives:
Provide chances for integrating knowledge and living experience;
Cultivate people’s critical thinking capability, and carry out social introspection and reform
Promote social reconstruction and enhance civil nature
Encourage continuing education
After conducting an open and conscientious evaluation, the Association set up the first Community University on April 8, 2000 in Kaohsiung, and it has received outstanding awards yearly. The Association not only manages this university, but also takes care of the needs of senior citizens who learn at the Elders College, which is under the management of the Social Affairs Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government. A Tribal University for the aborigines is also the concern of the Association. For advancing the general educational capacity of citizens, the Association interacts and collaborates with various educational institutions and civil groups in order to achieve positive social influence. The idea is to combine public and private resources so that learning in groups can help society to progress.
Widely set up learning locations in communities
Promote the concept of mobile learning and develop learning circles
Implement a collaborative mechanism of team learning with Community Universities in southern Taiwan
Build a tight link with other citizen education institutions and civil groups
Integrate educational resources in Kaohsiung and fully develop its functions
Set up Community Resources Centers in the best and most convenient life-long locations