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All You Need to Know about Non-Formal Education

The idea of non-formal education appeared in the international discussion on the education system in the 1970s. It seemed to be different from traditional education since its aim is to understand the essence of learning outside the educational establishments.

Non-formal education is based on constant and lifelong learning, and has four main features:

  • Non-formal education should correspond to the needs of underprivileged groups;
  • Are taken into account the variety of individuals in society;
  • An attention should be given to the definite purposes;
  • Its main methods and principles should be useful and flexible.

The notion of “non-formal education” varies between countries. There are such concepts like social pedagogy, community learning, community education, and also informal education.

Types of Education. The Basics of Non-Formal Education

The appearance of such phenomenon like non-formal education is deeply related to the fact that formal educational systems were gradually losing their effectiveness and popularity due to the economic and social changes. Therefore, the economists split the learning system into three main categories: formal education, informal and non-formal education.

The formal education is simply known as “the education system” with a clearly determined structure: primary schooling, secondary education, and post-secondary education. In addition, there is a wide range of study programs and courses in professional or technical training.

The informal education covers all personal ways to acquire knowledge and develop skills. This includes daily experiences, online learning, communication with family and friends, work, part-time jobs, mass media, and other things.

Non-formal education is an organized activity based on learning, exploring or investigating some sort of things in a community group or within an organization. Non-formal education can be observed in the following forms: literacy education for the youth and adults, political education, trade union education, pre-school education, vocational training projects, projects on medicine and health, etc.

The “western” definition of non-formal education also comprises:

  • Sending skillful teachers to the local villages for carrying out a training program;
  • The use of radio, television, newspapers, the Internet, etc.;
  • Formal or informal sanctions for those who did not take part;
  • Provision for the population, etc.

Depending on the political and economic conditions, the problem of illiteracy, the desires of nations, and the development of technology, non-formal education was gaining more popularity in the late 1970s. The governments all over the globe focused on enhancing the quality of life and enabling every person to obtain the education easily. These changes can somewhat be considered as the new approaches to the education.

To implement the non-formal programs, the academics concentrated on such important ways: teaching the literacy workers, monitoring the relevance of materials used, strengthening literacy, and having strong ambitions and believe in the positive consequences.

The issue of fighting the illiteracy faced several problems. Firstly, the illiteracy workers were unpaid in most cases, and many educators stood by hiring only young people or volunteers. That’s why it was difficult to monitor their teaching performance.

Secondly, to provide the literacy workers with suitable literature, the huge efforts should have been put. It concerns searching appropriate materials in a library, buying or publishing new books, creating radio programs, and especially funding all these things and checking their quality.

The most crucial thing was that after launching some literacy programs in the nation, it was necessary to retain the achievements and constantly improving skills of some groups. The key was to develop a desire in young people, as well as adults, to study, become more organized and skillful, and never be afraid to change anything in life.

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