Community Based Education (CBE) Philosophy of the College

Community-Based Education (CBE) is a means of achieving educational relevance to community needs and consequently of implementing a community-oriented education program. It consists of learning activities that use the community extensively as a learning environment, in which not only students but also teachers, members of the community, and other sectors are actively engaged throughout the educational experience. CBE, as an educational philosophy aims at developing professionals with problem identification and solving skills and positive attitudes to serve the society. It’s main feature are:

  •     It should be introduced very early in the educational process, 
  •     It must continue through out the curriculum, 
  •     It should relate to planned educational goals and objectives, 
  •    The learning takes place within the community rather than in classroom setup 
  •     It should get an appropriate time in the curriculum; a minimum of 20% of the study time is allocated for CBE activities, 
  •     It is learner centered 

It follows the problem solving steps: students are expected to pass through the following steps during their community based
Development of the philosophy
Jimma university is the national pioneer of community based higher education. But through time other recently established universities have adopted the philosophy. Even though, this philosophy was adopted by the health sciences at the beginning, the philosophy was later used for all disciplines. All colleges of the university are currently implementing the philosophy with each college having its own CBE coordinating office including the college of public health and medical sciences.

  •     Identify the study community 
  •     Develop investigation tools 
  •     Gather data 
  •     Process and analyse data 
  •     Prioritise problems 
  •     Draw action plan 
  •     Carry out intervention 
  •     Evaluate and monitor the intervention 

Strategies of CBE
In order to realize the philosophy the college uses the following strategies:

  1. Community Based Training Program (CBTP)
  2. Team Training Program (TTP) (soon Developmental Team Training Program DTTP)
  3. Student Research Program (SRP)

In addition “CBE project and intervention office” and ”CBE data and GIS office” of JU assist the activities of the above three strategic arms.

Community Based Training Program (CBTP) 

CBTP is one form of the strategies of CBE, where beginning from year I, students go to the community in a group and are attached for at least three weeks every academic year and engage themselves the learning activities. The same group of students will be assigned to the same locality so that knowing the exact problems of the locality, students can make a difference by working together with the community and stakeholders.

CBTP during pre-graduating years runs for 2,3 and 4 years for academic programs that take 3,4 and 5 years respectively. Each phase has specifically defined educational objectives. During each phase, students as a group (10-12) are assigned to urban, semi-urban or rural communities with an approximate population of 600-10,000. The areas are identified by the coordinating office and are located within 50 km radius from the university.
Three to five teaching staff members supervise each group. Each faculty designs in what sort of community based studies students will be engaged and when they plan, it is in such that it will addresses the real problems of the community and relates to the students’ class room teaching and career. The developmental work plan enable students to use locally available resources and utilize appropriate technology. The CBE office of the college in collaboration with the central CBE coordination office and concerned offices plans, put up schedules and mobilizes students in group and assist in the in each step in the problem solving approach. In this program, students are supposed to pass through the problem solving steps, i.e. from problem identification to implementation and evaluation. The community actively participates in each of the steps.

The different activities in each phase of CBTP include:

  • Lecture on relevant topics 
  • Orientation to the phase CBTP 
  • Grouping and group discussion with supervisors 
  • Development of methods to be followed during the different phases of the program and data collection instruments 
  • Collection of relevant materials and equipment for the attachment 
  • Introduction to community and community leaders and community tracking 
  • Data collection, processing and analysis 
  • Identification and prioritization of problems and drawing of feasible action plans, (implement and evaluate with the community and other sectors whenever possible) 
  • Report writing, rehearsal and presentation in symposium 
  • Reporting of findings back to the community and other relevant sectors 

Developmental Team Training Program (DTTP)
DTTP is a transformation from the former Team Training Program (TTP). With TTP, graduating students only from different health categories had been posted as a team (each team consisted of 20-30 students) in six different health centers. The program aimed to enable students to work as members of a health team in solving community health problems by applying the knowledge and skills of one’s profession and integrating these with the knowledge and skills of other members of the team. It also helped students to familiarize themselves to the primary health care units
However, the problems facing the development of our societies and communities are multifaceted. To further the success of TTP it needed a concerted and integrated effort of all disciplines, changing it’s name to Developmental Team Training Program (DTTP). Thus, DTTP will have a developmental team comprising graduating students from different colleges of the university in addition to the college of public health and medical sciences. They will engage themselves in developmental works in the areas of health, education, agriculture, technology, cottage industries and good governance, and will be assigned to a local community ('woreda') for two months. Therefore, DTTP will enables students to work in a team with different professionals to make a difference in development.

Site of Team Training Program:
Health centers in the four Woredas / districts with approximately 50 kilometers distance from the main campus of Jimma University have been used for team training sites since 1990. Currently the team-training site is increased to six. Team Training Program covers more than 57% of the population of the Zone.
Woredas’ Training Health Center Distance in kilometer from JU

  •      Jimma: Jimma THC 3 Kms
  •      Kersa: Serbo THC 22 Kms
  •     Omonada: Asendabo THC 55 Kms
  •     Omonada: Nada HC 70kms
  •     Gomma: Agaro THC 45 Kms
  •     Mana: Yebu THC 25 kms
  •     Seka-Chekorsa: Shebe THC 55 kms
  •     Limmu Genet: Limmu HC 70kms

Services being provided are:

  • Communicable disease control through Immunization, Disease outbreak investigation and promotion of early detection and treatment of communicable diseases
  • Promotion of nutrition for under five children
  • Provision curative and rehabilitative services through Inpatient and outpatient services
  • Improvement of environmental health with emphasis on provision of safe and adequate water, proper disposal of wastes, vector control, food and beverage sanitation including inspection
  • Providing maternal and child health services
  • Collection, analysis and interpretation of health service statistics
  • Improvement of the health service management of the districts/Woredas and all health facility that are available in the Woredas
  • Provision of continuing education for health center staff, traditional birth attendants, community health agents, anti-AIDS clubs, food handlers
  • Help maintain adequate quantity as well as quality of essential drugs according to the national drug list
  • Provision of basic laboratory services

Student Research program (SRP)
The student research program (SRP) is designed to enable each degree student to design, conduct an operational research and write a scientific report. By doing so students develop critical thinking capacity and problem solving skill All degree program students are required to do an independent research work. This enables the students to be skilled researchers. While doing their research they gain knowledge on problem identification, data collection, data analyses, proposing solutions and implementation. Just like CBTP and DTTP, SRP is a component of CBE which follows sound and ethical procedures aiming at solving the prevailing problems of the community in action oriented manner.
The research projects serve as springboard for future elaborated research. Research advisors are assigned for each student researcher. All degree students under take a research activity as requirement course for graduation. At the end of each year, the university prepares a symposium where the three best researches (as selected by the relevant college staff) of each department will be presented and awarded. In addition abstracts of all students are compiled and distributed to departments and libraries of Jimma University as well as other universities.
As a principle, student research should be an individual work. However, if there are obstacles, group researches may be undertaken in the future.
Researches conducted by the students are:

  • Problem oriente Community based
  • Scientifically and ethically acceptable
  • Feasible and action oriented

Community-Based Education, in general, has enabled the university:
To train professionals in diverse fields of studies in a community setting in such a way that the students will be responsive to the needs of the community,

  • To encourage a team approach in treating societal problems,
  • To work with the local communities with greater conviction,
  • To undertake problem-based research activities which take into consideration the priority needs of the community and enhance research undertaking skill.