Sunday, July 29, 2007

Formal vs Non-Formal Education

This is a repost of what ko soe htet mentioned at NGO website forum

Here's some definitions regarding formal and nonformal education.

Formal education is properly associated with schools. A more precise definition is supplizd by Coombs (1973), “the hierarchically structured, chronologically graded educational system running from primary school through the university and including, in addition to general academic studies, a variety of specialized programs and institutions for full-time technical and professional training”.

Nonformal education is instruction that is not obligatory and structured and is learned outside the context of a formal school. The term is often used in reference to adult education.

Nonformal (NFE) has been defined (Kleis. 1973. p. 6) as any intentional and systematic educational enterprise (usually outside of traditional schooling) in which content is adapted to the unique needs of the students (or unique situations) in order to maximize learning and minimize other elements which often occupy formal school teachers (i.e. taking roll, enforcing discipline, writing reports, supervising study hall, etc.). Nonformal education is more learner centered than most formal education. It has to be Learners can leave anytime they are not motivated. NFE tends to emphasize a cafeteria curriculum (options, choices) rather than the prescribed, sequential curriculum found in schools. In NFE human relationships are more informal (roles of teachers and students are less rigid and often switch) than in schools where student-teacher and teacheradministrator roles are hierarchical and seldom change in the short term. NFE focuses on practical skills and knowledge while schools often focus on information which may have delayed application. Overall NFE has a lower level of structure (and therefore more flexibility) than schools.

Even less structured is informal education which deals with everyday experiences which are not planned or organized (incidental learning). When these experiences are interpreted or explained by elders or peers they constitute informal education (Kleis.1973. pp. 3-4).

Some examples will help clarify formal, nonformal, and informal education. Formal education occurs in a typical public high school classroom. Nonformal education occurs with such organizations as Scouts which are less structured than schools, allowing youth more choices, providing less curricular sequencing, and enforcing it even less.

In Myanmar, there's some related works in non-formal education present but not developed as a system yet. We're still need to do many, more.



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