Community Based Education (CBE)

The teaching-learning activity of the College is centred on the University’s Community Based Education philosophy. The Office of CBE and Partnership is primarily responsible for overseeing the smooth implementation of CBE programmes and facilitating partnerships with different stakeholders.

Community Based Education is an educational philosophy that is aimed at developing future professionals with problem identification and solving skills and positive attitudes to serve society. It is an educational approach rooted in the belief that, if the very objective of education is to equip learners with realistic, practical and relevant knowledge, skills and attitude that would contribute to the improvement of the life of the people, it should not be limited to classroom activities only. Rather, it has to take place in the community where learners meet the final goal of education: community development and social change.

Often the term is confused with terms like “problem based learning”, “professional practice” and “practical attachment”. There are similarities between CBE and  such terms in some respects including the emphasis on developing the problem-solving skills of learners in the case of “problem based learning”, and fieldwork in the case of “practicum”, “professional practice” and “practical attachment”. However, it is distinct because of the following points:

  • CBE follows the problem-solving steps:  site selection, (identifying community), developing investigation tools, gathering data, processing and analysis of information, listing and prioritising problems, drawing plan of action, carrying out intervention, and, evaluation by involving students, teachers, the community, governmental and non-governmental development agents (stakeholders) in a concerted manner.
  • During CBE, students work on real societal problems related to their educational needs, and also as part of the requirements for obtaining a diploma or degree in their fields.
  • Community based activities are introduced very early in the educational process and continue throughout the curriculum. 
  • They relate to planned educational goals and objectives and hence both students and teachers must have a clear understanding of the purposes of the activities and the expected results.  
  • It is not a peripheral experience but a standard, integral, and continuing part of the educational process.
  • It should get an appropriate time length in the curriculum, which is a minimum of 20% of study time.

Making the community the centre of its activities, CBE runs in what the document described as a “spiral manner”, early from the first year to graduation, following the innovative approach mentioned above. This enables students to clearly identify community problems, design solutions and implement them to solve problems. On a more general and abstract level, CBE is distinct in that:

  • the Community is at the Centre of the educational activities
  • activities run in a spiral manner from first year to graduation, being n-1 where n= the academic year 
  • it is participatory in nature
  • it is learner-centred
  • it utilises the skills of identifying community problems and designing appropriate intervention mechanisms 
  • it attempts to integrate research training and services.  


  1. Redirect the learning approach to focus on population, groups and individuals, taking into account the development needs of the community involved
  2. Train different professionals who should be responsive to the needs of the community through a development approach to improve the lives of society by involving all stakeholders
  3. Demonstrate social accountability by initiating or participating in training, research and services at local, national and international levels 
  4. Produce new professionals who are responsive to the development needs of society
  5. Involve the community in the problem-solving process of learning for development
  6. Empower the community to address its development needs with the local resources 
  7. Work with government and non-government organisations to improve the lives of society through a people-centred approach  
  8. Promote development through a multidisciplinary team approach 
  9. Undertake community-based research to identify and solve societal problems.

CBE has three components: Community-Based Training Program (CBTP), Development Team Training Programme (DTTP) and Student Research Project (SRP). The term community has been operationally defined as: “Groups of people who share common interests and have the feeling that they belong together to form a community.  It could be in urban or rural setting.” The Community-Based Training Program (CBTP) is experiential learning that offers undergraduate students the opportunity to work with the community. CBTP is offered in different phases ranging from preparation phase to intervention and evaluation of the same. DTTP is undertaken by postgraduate students forming teams and stationing in a given community for two to three months to identify and intervene (solve) problems facing a given community in their respective disciplines.

The office is also responsible to forge linkage with the local community and other stakeholders. Should you have any queries or interest in working with us, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.

Community Based Education (CBE) Coordinator
Genene Belayneh
P.O.Box : 376
Tell: +251-0921749351(Mobile)
Jimma, Ethiopia