Community-based learning in higher education: A portal for knowledge production in the time of COVID-19

  • Nompumelelo Thabethe Academic institution
  • Sarasvathie Reddy Academic institution
Keywords: community-based learning, community engagement, COVID-19, higher education transformation, knowledge production


This article examines the curriculum for community-based learning in the context of community engagement in higher education. Using Bourdieu and Argyris and Schön as a theoretical framework, it draws on the findings of a qualitative study that sought to critically explore the epistemological experiences of third-year students undertaking a course in community-based learning at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The findings revealed that non-traditional students bring epistemic value to university spaces that must be recognised and affirmed in generating new knowledge in the time of COVID-19. This is particularly critical in an institution like the University of KwaZulu-Natal that has a growing number of non-traditional students from previously disadvantaged communities. Both the institution and students have to embrace competing ways of knowing as producers of transformative knowledge.