[Editorial] Learning and teaching participation in institutions of higher learning: overview

Taylor, Peter and Fransman, Jude (2003). [Editorial] Learning and teaching participation in institutions of higher learning: overview. PLA Notes, IIED, 48 pp. 4–9.

URL: https://www.iied.org/g02059


There is increasing global interest, by many actors engaged in development, in promoting the institutionalisation and spread of participation in society. From grassroots projects to voluntary organisations, and from governments to large funding agencies, ‘participation’ has been embraced as a way to build greater voice, accountability, and trust into relation- ships between people and institutions. Successful innovations and practice have resulted in participation being seen as a desirable end as well as a means, with the potential to reduce poverty and social injustice by strengthening citizen rights and voice, influencing policy making, enhancing local gover- nance, and improving the accountability and responsiveness of institutions. Inherent in the idea of participation is that poor and marginalised people should take part in, and indeed drive, the decision-making processes that shape their lives. This involves the use of a range of approaches and methods, and requires changes in behaviour, attitudes, and power relationships by everyone involved.

An international dialogue on learning and teaching participation (LTP) in institutions of higher learning was convened by the Participation Group of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, UK in April 2002. The original purpose of the dialogue was, through the sharing of experiences, to enable HL institutions to develop and deliver more effective education programmes and to contribute to a wider transformation of individuals, institutions, and society. The LTP global dialogue has gathered steadily in momentum. From the experimental contributions of the participants in the initial e- forum, through four subsequent e-fora, and an international workshop (April 2003), the initiative has become a truly globe-spanning network of people involved in teaching and learning participation, both through theory and in practice.

The articles presented in this special theme section of PLA Notes are drawn from a selection of papers prepared for the International Workshop on Learning and Teaching Participa- tion in Higher Education in April 2003. We hope they will encourage more individuals and institutions to engage in thinking and practice of LTP, and further participation in the wider dialogue. The papers have been selected for their rele- vance to three key areas:
• participatory modes and programmes of teaching and learning;
• university-community partnerships; and,
• learning networks and methods for institutionalising and
mainstreaming LTP.

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