by Steve Hart, July 2014
The idea of The Permaculture College of Europe was born from discussions of objectivity from the first series of EPT Conferences. It was recognised as a value in developing a facility that could function to serve the key future developments of Permaculture Education throughout Europe. This is but one tool in the structural tool box and as an excellent outcome to evolve the tremendous efforts created from the EPT series.
Vision: It has been discussed in many quarters since the inception of Permaculture, of education to the highest levels. The original frameworks of The Academy offered by Mollison suggests Permaculture to doctorate. Our challenge is to create this vehicle to take it there. This can be achieved by creating our own independent educational structures, or also, working alongside and within the existing. It is an evolutionary process which is gaining momentum from within Europe though this first series of EPT Conferences.
Rationale and Reasoning: It is perceived that with the need and desire to improve and increase the development of higher educational standards right across the board of Permaculture throughout Europe and the world for that matter some vehicle and momentum for such is needed. Associated to this is the desire to gain more Permaculture activities into the mainstream educational arenas, primarily the universities and kindergartens. The need is to show practical applications through the academic energy.
Intent: Permaculture is suffering from a number of negative images. One such is the integrity of standards which are clearly falling. Associated with this is the lack of accreditation of a respected level of standards. The PCofE will rebuild these required levels and maintain the excellence needed to perform a service to the levels expected from existing mainstream providers.
Objective: The integrity of the high standards of education questioned, demanded and expected from the mainstream education streams asks for a body that can present recognition and accreditation of approved delivery and performance in education. This fact has already been proven with the development of the Approved Permaculture Training, APT, structure that is operating in Australia.
Aim: The PCofE will function as a “clearing house”, a “nerve centre” facilitating communication with all parties on education. It will develop and maintain data bases of all networks related to Permaculture education.
Purpose: The PCofE will offer an administration centre that administers the networking of education which has the services and tools to do so. It will be managed by personnel who, highly respect the needs of such provision.
Function: The PCofE will a. Develop and maintain a data base of all courses, teachers and enues for all levels of Permaculture and associated study or education.
b. Support the development and maintainence of a high level of standards of curriculum and teachers.
c. Communicate with all streams of education to promote the services of the PCofE
d. Monitor the delivery of all facets of Permaculture Education
e. Develop, promote and maintain a membership of all functionaries in Permaculture education.
f. Assist any body or entity wishing to attain any level of Permaculture education with the delivery of best standards in all areas.
Structure: Being representative of all countries throughout Europe a number of layers of function and service are required for best operation. Respecting the Permaculture societal structures through Bio-regions to national entities which may have a number of independent organizations within either, must be recognised. Such layers are:
a. The Individual,
b. An Association,
c. An Institute
d. An Academy
e. A regional body
f. A national body.
All such groups deserve respect and association to the PCofE . The national body has the responsibility within its own country to serve the function within.
Management: I suggest three layers of management. One, an Advisory Board, two an Exceutive and three the Management group. The registered entity of The PCofE will be an association. The inaugural functionary members of The PCofE will be invited for promotion at the EPT Conference in Bulgaria July 2014 and endorsed at the EUPC 2014.
Start Up: Funding for all provisions of service will be sought through the EPT entity and from any other sources. All members will donate time service and fees in order to maintain all functions.
Benefits to the Permaculture Community:
1. Immediate. Recognising the tremendous work created from the EPT series the momentum must continue and grow into practical realities. PCofE is the vehicle for such with its focus squarely on education. It will:
a. Take up where EPT leaves.
b. Develop data bases of all education networks and services.
c. Evolve any EPT programs needing such development.
d. Assist all existing organizations to deliver their preferred programs
2 Long term.. As per the comments above in vision, aims, objectives, purpose and function the PCof E will develop a stronger body of learning and performance right across Europe. It will:
a. Work with all entities to grow all aspects of Permaculture.
b. Offer the services and back up to ensure education is available at all levels at a high standard.
c. Build and help maintain the standards through all education.
d. Assist in the entry of Permaculture education into any quarter where it is deserved.
3. Simplicity. The structure if PCofE is simple without any layers of hierarchy or hidden administration systems. It will be open and inclusive. It is envisaged to become part of the formal structure within EUPC where it will have its formal biannual assembly as part of the EUPC conferences.