Beyond the ivory tower: service-learning for sustainable community development

  • M. Fourie


Teaching, research and community service have since earliest times been regarded as the three core functions of the university. The concept and practice of service-learning has succeeded in uniting these core functions. Whereas the quality of student learning resulting from service-learning experiences is of crucial importance for universities, the role of service-learning in community development also deserves attention. The article explores the necessary conditions for service-learning to make a viable and effective contribution to sustainable community development by critically analyzing a number of service-learning projects at the University of the Free State. From this analysis certain conclusions are drawn on necessary prerequisites for service-learning to satisfy the requirements of participatory development and thus contribute to sustainable community development. It is the 's contention that the university's involvement in service-learning along the lines of participatory development is a crucial investment in the future of students, communities and the university itself.

(South African Journal of Higher Education: 2003 17 (1): 31-38)

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eISSN: 1011-3487