In the United States of America, the concept of community colleges started in the early 20th century where junior or technical public colleges of higher learning were developed. Initially, the early community collages were extensions of high school and were very small hence; the name junior collages (Cohen, 2008). These collages mostly emphasized on an open-minded arts schooling with an objective of transferring their students to a higher learning institution. On this basis, these collages primarily offered certificates, diplomas and associate degree in various courses which run for a period of two years. Importantly, many community colleges in America offered credits to their students to transfer to a four-year university to undertake their bachelor degree. In several cities of America, community collages have different names where they are called city collages in most of the California, New York and Chicago cities (Cohen, 2008).
Enrollment in community colleges
It should be noted that, American community colleges do not restricts students from being admitted but rather operate under the guiding principle of ‘open admission’. In this case, any student with a high school diploma may be admitted in these collages in spite of his/her previous educational status or passing mark scores (Cohen, 2008). Despite the fact that these colleges operate under the principle of open admission, students have to take an assessment test since not all courses are open to admission. Additionally, community colleges principles allow students to earn secondary and college credits concurrently. As a result of these, some high school students attend these colleges despite the fact that they have not completed their high school certificate. Further, community colleges allow working individuals who would like to gain additional skills in their fields and also degree holders who feel that they would be more employable or would like to pursue their interests (Staley, 2009).
Significantly, the students who attend these collages come from varied backgrounds and have different reasons for their attendance. From the above observations it can be argued that, students do not enroll in community collages because they are poor academically or come from relatively poor family backgrounds; but because of the urge to further their studies. As a result of the introduction of community collages in America, many high scoring high school students complete their associate degree before they graduate from high school (Staley, 2009).
Quality of instruction in community colleges
A point worth noting is that, tutors in community colleges are qualified and well equipped in delivering knowledge to students. In this case, since this is a post high school learning institution and some high school students attend it, the quality of instruction needs to be high in order to properly impart knowledge to them (Baldwin, 2009). A good example here is at Salt Lake Community College where the quality of instruction is enhanced by emphasizing of faculty development and creation of a health partnership between public and higher learning institutions. On the other hand, researches have indicated that community colleges in America are faced with the challenges of overpopulation; as a lot of students are time and again being enrolled in these colleges (Baldwin, 2009).
As a result of this, the quality of education in these colleges has declined. On this basis, there has been a dilemma whether these colleges should continue to accept high number of qualified students and give them a lesser quality learning or should they maintain their quality of education and enroll fewer students. Considering the inadequacy of finances in these collages, the process of enrolling great number of students has threatened the quality of education. Additionally, the increased reluctance to employ Ph. holders in these colleges has created an assumption to people that quality of instruction in these colleges is not up to standards (Cohen, 2008).
Mission and Purpose
It should be noted that, the mission of community colleges in America is to offer an open admission to high value, inexpensive educational courses that include associate degrees and certificate programs. Further, these collages are committed to excellence in teaching and learning and provision of educational preparation for transfer to four-year learning institutions. Moreover, students learning in the community colleges are prepared in terms of career for their easy entry into highly demanded occupational fields. On the other hand the main purpose of community colleges is to offer certificate, diploma, and associate degree courses as well as extra curriculum activities to their students (Baldwin, 2009).
Breadth and relevance of the programs offered in community colleges
As stated earlier, American community colleges offer a wide range of courses to certificate, diploma and associate degree students. Among the most well known fields studied in these colleges include; law enforcement, nursing, arts, radiography, firefighting and technological fields (Staley, 2009). In addition to higher academic fields, American community colleges provide local services to the community members. Among these services are job placements, education for dropouts and adult classes. In some colleges there are athletic programs where those students who are not at academics can pursue their talents in games especially in athletic, basketball and football (Staley, 2009).
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