Title Head: COMMUNITY COLLEGE MOVEMENT
The history of community college movement dates back to the mid 1980s when and the subsequent formation of a college in Florida which was named FloridaCommunity College based in Jacksonville. These colleges were formed as a result of the recognition of the shortage of colleges which would absorb students who could not go for courses which took four years to complete, especially in the universities. Legislature in the state of Florida was passed enabling some of the community colleges to be turned into four-year colleges that would offer bachelors degrees only. Graduate degrees would not be offered in these colleges. Personnel would be trained based on the demands of the surrounding environment within the state. This was among the pioneer colleges which undertook to make the much needed change into offering college education based on the needs of the state at a bachelors degree level. The community college movement resulted in a system that duplicates vocational training offered in secondary programs. They are essentially institutions which were established with the aim of providing post secondary education.
Community colleges serve a very important function in filing the gap left by inadequate chances in other institutions of higher education like the universities in career training. The idea of constructing these colleges came as many states felt that they needed somewhere to train people who were leaving secondary education in vocational subjects. Many colleges did not offer vocational training and instead trained people for white collar jobs. Community colleges nowadays offer academic courses that are compatible with those offered in four year colleges and as such a student can transfer to them if they so wish. An example is Germanna in Virginia which has signed a contract with the universities to allow for transfer if students intent to transfer by accepting the academic courses that they offer (Simmons, 2010). The community colleges offer an alternative to four-year colleges as they offer courses at a third the price of going through a university. Poor students can now get college education at a relatively lower and affordable cost (Malone, 2010). The average cost for tuition in a Virginia community college is $2500 while a four year institution at the same state charges $8,200. This is a great reduction and it is much advisable to opt for the community colleges to save some money.
Community colleges play the critical role of preparing people for high-skill, high-demand as well as high-wage jobs within the state. They differ from mainstream universities in the sense that universities offer post graduate degrees while community colleges do not. The demand for these institutions is on the increase as people realize that they can get high quality education while they save money especially in the wake of global recession whereby many people have to make ends meet with limited resources (Ross, 2010). Teacher training need not be very expensive and community colleges offer the much required vocational training at a much lower cost compared to the universities. The idea of teacher training is to get the most effective skills that can enable the teacher to transfer knowledge to the students in the subjects that are relevant to the local community. The administrators of community colleges concentrate their research around the environment that they are expected to serve and this puts them at the frontline in offering training in areas that are in demand and useful for the community that they are expected to serve as they identify them from research. Community colleges rely mostly on donations for survival as tuition fees can not cater for the entire requirements. A person needs a GED so as to be enrolled to a community college. (Owen, 2010).
Community colleges do actually offer an alternative when university education seems to have gone beyond the reach of the common person due to very high costs. The courses these colleges offer are no less than those offered in the universities and are equally as competitive in the market. Community colleges offer courses that are in demand (Tweh, 2010). These courses include information systems technology, fire science technology, accounting, automotive technology, Business management, police science, networking, graphic communication as well as small business management which are very popular courses. Teacher’s education is one of the vocational areas in which community colleges cater for adequately. These colleges are the most ideal as the courses they offer are suited for the local needs. To train as a teacher requires a college that knows the needs of the community that the teacher is going to serve.
Community colleges are the most suitable to provide the much needed training in teachers education because as the population grows, the pupils continue to increase and as such the demand for more teachers. Schools need well trained teachers who can identify the needs of the communities in which they teach. Community schools are in this case the most suited to provide this kind of vocational training as they know the needs of the immediate environment (Owen, 2010). Teacher education is the hope of the community as there can be no transfer and generation of knowledge without teachers.
Malone, P, (2010). Community colleges tuition to escalate. McClatchy – Tribune Business News. Washington: Oct 7, 2010.
Owen, H, (2010). Focus on Community Colleges. McClathy; Tribune News. Washington: Oct 7, 2010.
Ross, J, (2010). Bringing college lessons to front row. McClatchy – Tribune Business News. Washington: Oct 7, 2010.
Simmons, R, (2010). Germanna to celebrate its 40th anniversary Saturday. McClatchy – Tribune Business News. Washington: Oct 7, 2010.
Tweh, B, (2010). Report calls for more investment in skills training. McClatchy – Tribune Business News. Washington: Oct 7, 2010.