Popular Education is an innovative approach to learning from South Africa. It was developed in 2011 by DVV International as a demand-oriented method of learning in the townships near Cape Town. The Popular Education programme resulting therefrom was met with great interest by non-governmental organisations, grassroots groups and government departments and spread from the Western and Northern Cape provinces to the provinces of Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal.
The recently published Popular Education Programme Report 2013 provides an overview of developments in the programme in 2013 and can be read here.
What is Popular Education ?
Popular Education is different from formal education: The teaching does not follow a set curriculum but is tied to the reality of the participants. The process of learning is active and participatory, the participants decide which issues are important to them and what they want to learn. Often the problems of everyday life form the basis for the lesson. Participants not only acquire basic knowledge, for example, in reading, writing and arithmetic, but also develop skills that enable them to change their social condition.
Three pillars of Popular Education
The Popular Education program has three pillars. The first pillar consists of the “Popular Education Schools” which are aimed at the residents of municipalities. The second pillar, “Popular Education Development Programmes,” provides training for the community workers and adult educators in the application of the approach. And finally, the third pillar, the “Popular Education Practitioners Circle”, provides the opportunity to share experiences and exchange ideas on practices and theories of Popular Education. These meetings have received great encouragement from university faculty, staff of NGOs and other practitioners from the non-formal education area.