New research published this month shows that seminars and workshops are the most common method used by co-operatives to fulfill their educational role as described in fifth principle of co-operation. The study explores the application of the International Co-operative Alliance’s fifth co-operative principle (education, training, and information) within Canadian co-operatives.

The paper “The Fifth Co-operative Principle in Action: Mapping the Co-operative Educational Initiatives of Canadian Co-operatives” was researched and written by Erin Hancock and Annabelle Brault and published by the University of Saskatchewan as part of the Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network.

In Canada, co-operative associations and federations are the largest single group offering educational initiatives (38%), which is a traditional service offered by second- and third-tier co-operatives in stewarding the fifth principle.

The study also explores educational initiatives undertaken by co-operatives to educate stakeholder groups (staff, board, members) and, more broadly, the general public. It looks closely at external organizations that offer educational initiatives specifically targeted at co-operatives.

The Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation (CASC) in partnership with the Association of Cooperative Educators ACE are also exploring activities and innovations in the application of Co-operative Principle 5. They have launched a video challenge to document co-op activities across North America entitled: The P5 Video Challenge: Educating for co-operation. The completion offers $1,000 US prizes in two categories, video’s less than 3 minutes and video’s 3 to 10 minutes in length. Details of the competition and how to enter can be found here.

Download the study and enter a video of your co-ops unique education activity in the P5 Video Challenge!