Questions Choice and Concern

What is the difference between formal and non-formal education?


Vaishali P

I am the architect of my life

Education in different languages implies the same meaning, which is to bring forth the best qualities and abilities in a person. Formal and non-formal education is two different concepts with each having its characteristics and purpose.

What is formal education?

When education is delivered systemically in a structured environment like school and university by teachers who are trained in the profession, it is referred to as formal education.

What is non-formal education?

An organized educational activity, which is out of the preview of the formal education system, more centered on the learner than a general curriculum, is called as non-formal education. There are no specific age inclusions or other exclusions in the target group for non-formal education groups.

Difference between formal and non-formal education

  • In a formal setting, the attendance is compulsory for both teachers and kids, which means it will have the same set of teachers and a curriculum. In case of a non-formal setting, there is no definitive curriculum every year as it varies based on learner’s requirement. Also, the attendance on the non-formal setup is not consistent, and the teachers also change every time.
  • In a formal setting, teachers have to stick to the predefined curriculum, and there is no scope for including non-traditional content, and they have to meet with the standards of today’s education. The content and curriculum of the non-formal education is however not sacrosanct and can be changed to match with the learning curve of the students.
  • The knowledge and experience of classroom teachers and that of teachers in the non-formal education settings vary vastly. The former have training in teaching strategies, management of the classroom, content-based teaching methods, etc., while the latter is more focused on group management and content expertise as they deal with different age groups and in various disciplines.
  • The activities in a classroom-based educational program can last for more than one day which is not the case with the non-formal educational program. In the latter, the events have to be completed on the same day for a more effective outcome.
  • Non-Formal education has a more informal environment and is aimed at a different audience group while a formal education is more precise in their approach.

Each concept of education has its strengths, and it depends on the purpose of your educational outreach which will decide the kind of training you need.

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