‘Community college’ goes global

Community colleges educate 46 percent of U.S. undergraduates, 58 percent of students in Israel, 20 percent in Korea and France, and 26 percent in Japan, reports Inside Higher Ed. The community college concept has gone global.

Rosalind Latiner Raby, co-editor of the book Community College Models (Springer, 2009), looks at community colleges and similar programs in 30 countries. Many are adding the ability to transfer to a four-year college.

LaGuardia Community College worked with the Universidad Central de Chile to create the Community College de Santiago.

In creating the community college, “the board took into account, among other reasons, the great need existing in Chile of preparing students who after a period of two years at the university are prepared to get a job at the level known in Chile as technician,” Luis Merino, the Universidad Central’s vice rector of academic affairs, explained in an e-mail. “Well-prepared technicians are badly needed in our country.”

. . . Students can earn dual degrees, from the Community College de Santiago and LaGuardia, in accounting, business administration, computer technology/telecommunications, computer operations/computer network administration and security, and computer science. When students complete the two-year degree, they can get a job or transfer their credits and continue their studies at the Universidad Central.

“The challenge is really about open access and transfer. Those very new concepts are challenging to develop around the world,” said Gail Mellow, LaGuardia’s chancellor.

Many countries see community colleges as a way to develop a trained workforce, says John Halder, president of Community Colleges for International Development, a nonprofit association.  CCID is working to help establish Gori Community College in the nation of Georgia and helped start the Center for Vocational Education in Madras, which became Madras Community College.  In 2009, Indira Gandhi National Open University announced plans to set up 500 new community colleges by 2011.

Houston Community College is helping set up the Community College of Qatar.

Essentially, the community college has contracted with HCC to hire faculty and teach a HCC curriculum in Qatar. “The intent at the end of five years is to withdraw from that contract and they will then take over,” said Mary Spangler, HCC’s chancellor. In its first year, the Community College of Qatar will offer coursework in English as a Second Language and associate degree programs in math, science, computer science and business.

In the Middle East and North Africa, community colleges are setting up workforce programs, reports Community College Times.

Red Rocks Community College (Colorado), Al-Huson University College and Al-Balqa Applied University (Jordan) will work to expand Jordan’s green-collar workforce by establishing an associate degree program in solar energy technology.
Highline Community College (Washington) and Mataria Technical College (Egypt) will leverage the U.S. college’s  workforce development expertise to create educational pathways at the Egyptian college that will lead to skills jobs.
Gateway Technical College (Wisconsin) and Ecole Superieure de Technologie Oujda (Morocco) will focus on automotive diagnostics training.
Eastern Iowa Community College District and Muscatine Community College (Iowa) and Al Quds College (Jordan) will examine economic empowerment through entrepreneurship.

Community colleges are vital to economic recovery, writes Gene Budig, a College Board advisor,

Both China and India have noticed, with envy, the advancement of community colleges in the U.S., and they are responding with modified two-year replicas. They know what their economic engines will require, and two-year institutes and colleges are part of the mix.

Community colleges have the flexibility to provide training to meet workforce needs, said Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, at a forum on workforce development.

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