What is the difference between Formal and Non-formal education? Are they opposed? Can they work together?
Erasmus plus aims to work to bring closer the gap between formal and non-formal education to help achieve its aims and bring about positive change for society. Before we start to explore this we need to look at what are the differences between the two and how the Erasmus plus can work.
This is a predominately hierarchical, structured, chronologically graded ‘educational system’, This runs from primary school (in some cases Nursery) through to university and includes, in addition to general academic studies, a variety of specialised programmes and institutions for full-time technical and professional training. Formal Education is based on a programme or curriculum which can be more or less closed to adaptation to individual needs and preferences. Formal education usually leads to recognition and certification.
This is any organised activity outside the established formal system – whether operating separately or as an important feature of some broader activity – that is intended to serve identifiable learning objectives and designed to improve a range of skills and competencies. Non-formal education should also be:
accessible to everyone (ideally),
about learning life skills and preparing for active citizenship,
based on involving both individual and group learning with a collective approach,
holistic and process-oriented,
based on experience and action,
organised on the basis of the needs of the participants.
but wait there is another type of education…Informal education..
Informal education refers to a lifelong learning process, whereby each individual acquires attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from the educational influences and resources in his or her own environment and from daily experience. People learn from family and neighbours, in the supermarket, at the library, at work and through playing, reading and sports activities. The mass media are a very important medium for informal education, for instance through plays and film, music and documentaries. Learning in this way is often unplanned and unstructured.
KEY LEARNING POINT:
“Formal, non-formal and informal education are complementary and mutually reinforcing elements of a lifelong learning process”