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 Formal Non-Formal and Informal Education

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Mohamed LAHRI

Posts : 125
Join date : 2009-07-27
Age : 30
Location : Zaida-Morocco

PostSubject: Formal Non-Formal and Informal Education   Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:00 pm

*Formal and Non-Formal Education:


There is a continuing debate in some circles about the relative merits of formal and nonformal education. This debate may impact your work in a literacy program.


As normally used, the term formal education refers to the structured educational system provided by the state for children. In most countries, the formal education system is state-supported and state-operated. In some countries, the state allows and certifies private systems which provide a comparable education.

In contrast, nonformal education refers to education which takes place outside of the formally organized school. Most typically, the term or phrase nonformal education is used to refer to adult literacy and continuing education for adults.

*This education is called nonformal because:

-It is not compulsory.
-It does not lead to a formal certification.
-It may or may not be state-supported.


The most compelling policy issue in terms of formal verses nonformal education is that of cost effectiveness.

On the one hand are those, such as the World Bank, who argue that priority should go to formal education. In this way, in a generation or two, illiteracy will be wiped out.

On the other hand are those who say that putting a focus on formal education when there is a high percentage of adult illiteracy

-Creates enormous familial and social dysfunction.
-Reduces parental support for education in general and parental ability to support the educational process in particular.
-Causes long-term economic problems by educating children for work and roles which do not exist.

A strong focus on formal education assumes that such education will be successful. Evidence to date suggests that this is a mistaken assumption.

Conversely, a strong focus on adult education or literacy assumes that literate parents will insist that their children go to school and become literate. There is some evidence for this assumption. However, parents make decisions about schooling based on various factors, including economics. When local, regional, or national economic conditions are not good, parents, even literate parents, may resist sending their children to school. When this happens, the problem of literacy becomes a structural part of the country and becomes difficult to eradicate.


It seems probable that a more balanced approach or model for formal versus nonformal education will need to be developed by educational theorists. This model will have to include sound economic constructs as well as educational constructs.

*Informal Education:

Some see informal education as the learning that goes on in daily life. As friends, for example, we may well encourage others to talk about things that have happened in their lives so that they can handle their feelings and to think about what to do next. As parents or carers we may show children how to write different words or tie their laces. As situations arise we respond.

Others may view informal education as the learning projects that we undertake for ourselves. We may take up quilting, for example, and then start reading around the subject, buying magazines and searching out other quilters (perhaps through joining a Quilters Guild).

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Formal Non-Formal and Informal Education
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