Sunday, September 6, 2015

Town Square Academia, life and learning outside campus walls

I’m continually intrigued by the decoupling of education from the university setting. This latest example, Town Square Academia in the Upper Galilee Region in Israel, offers free courses with direct relevance to “life outside the campus walls.”

As Gracie Lofthouse writes for The Guardian, the project arose from protests in Israel against the cost of living and deterioration of public services:

“In Kiryat Shmona, where most of Town Square Academia’s courses are based, students and residents started thinking about those with power, and those without it, in their city.”

Lofthouse quotes Dr. Ayelet Shavit, co-founder with Yael Silver of Town Square Academia: “There’s very little industry here, Tel Hai college is the biggest employer by far.”

As Lofthouse relates, “Professors took to the streets to give lectures, with students and residents joining in the debate. ‘It showed there’s a thirst for knowledge here,’ with nowhere for debate to properly flourish.

“So Shavit and Silver set out to provide the community with an outlet for discussion. Funded by Tel Hai College, MIGAL and Canada-Israel Partnership (CIP), Town Square Academia puts on ten courses a year, taking place in cafes, community centres and factories.”

Social sharing credit: Anat Kolumbus

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