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What Are the 3 Types of Education?

K P Sheeja
Jan 16, 2023
Schools, Learning
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As a child grows, parents or guardians can choose between the kind of education they want their children to receive. These can be of three types:

● Formal Education Model

● Informal Education Model

● Non-Formal Education Model

With busier lives, and tight schedules and competitions, it is a good idea to look at all three types of education models and select the one or combination of more than one that fits your child’s needs. 

We will review and look at the advantages, disadvantages, and information about these educational models—formal, informal, and non-formal educational models.

What is the Formal Education Model?

Formal Education is the standardized model of education which one generally comes across in schools. It is used usually in formal schools and institutions with set curriculum, qualified teachers and a lot of structure around the education system.

All the facilitators or teachers are certified and qualified to teach in a formal school and the learning is structured and pre-determined with little flexibility. Usually it starts at kindergarten and moves through primary education, secondary education, higher education i.e universities and so on.

Characteristics of Formal Education

● Formal education system has a set and standardized grading system for its students.

● It is pre planned perfectly and follows course flow and structure according to which a teacher imparts education. It may even involve planners etc.

● The mode of payment here is usually a set fee or a discounted one or one on scholarship depending on the requirement and structure.

● Professional teachers are hired to teach the students who are qualified and have completed their learning.

● Since there is a pre planned syllabus, there is also a timeline in which the syllabus is expected to be completed.

● Formal Education follows a hierarchical order of nursery to class 12th

Advantages of Formal Education

● Formal education has a curriculum that is structured, pre planned and has no areas of doubt.

● Formal education system follows a structured way of education delivery thus reducing confusion and misled or wrong information.

● The context included in the syllabus of formal education is the most basic knowledge that every student should acquire.

● Formal education system usually has certified board approvals like Central Board of Secondary  Education, International Board, ICSE, State Board etc.

Disadvantages of Formal Education

● The education system is so rigid that it may repeat, leading to a student getting bored or disinterested in their studies in the formal education system.

● There is constant competition and little space to go on according to one's own pace making it difficult for students' mental health. Peer pressure and pressure from homes and teachers add to the stress as well.

● The courses in formal education are comparatively more costly than other forms of education.

● If the education system of the formal education is not an authorized one it may be a waste of money as the certificate has no value.

Informal Type of Education

Informal education takes place outside of structured classrooms. Any insights that students gain whether it is how to read the clock, eat food using chopsticks, behaving or socializing, picking up social norms and cues are all forms of informal type of education. 

How to eat, how to drink, how to pee, hygiene are all a part of informal education. The intention here often is not to learn but the consequence or outcome is learning like visiting an art gallery and learning about various art forms, history, attending a seminar or museum and getting curious and learning the importance of a certain era and place.

Characteristics of Informal Education

● It is not planned and no time table is involved

● There is no rigid syllabus involved thus no catching up and feeling left behind

● One can learn at their own pace and time

● One must learn randomly from any person as it is not compulsory to learn from a professional teacher

● There is no fee payment or charges involved in this method of learning

● Even learning through everyday experiences count as a casual learning or informal learning


Advantages of Informal Education

● The process of informal education can happen anytime and anywhere without any intention and does not require guidance per se by professionals

● Usually the courses taught in informal education require no guidance or rigid patterns or structures.

● Informal education is more fluid in the sense that there is no time or limit boundation, one can learn as much as they wish to.

● A person does not necessarily require a qualified teacher or professional to deliver lectures, but even everyday interactions and people can help get that education..

Disadvantages of Informal Education

● Since there is no rigid structure or profession , one may end up getting wrong information and ideas leading to a disruption.

● Since informal education is fluid in terms of timeline, one may take up way more time to acquire a skill or learning since there are no time boundations. It also means that you may lose on tips and tricks that professionals might be able to offer. .

● Due to lack of a rigid structure, there is no proper discipline that is followed here.

● At the end there is no certificate, course structure, fee or any form of authoritative remark that can authorize your education if informal.

Non-Formal Type of Education

Non-Formal Education is a blend between formal education and informal education. It leans more towards formal education but incorporates mechanisms and pointers from informal education. It basically involves generic adult education, adult literacy or college equivalency preparations. 

Amongst the various types of education, it can be referred to as a balance between formal and informal education. In a non formal type of education system the intention is to provide a pre planned learning but without a rigid syllabus.

The most common method used to understand this non-formal learning is via a home tutor. In this situation, there is a teacher although not certified or certified,  a set syllabus has to be followed but there are relaxations to complete it, this is not unintentional learning rather one is aware of the act of learning.

Characteristics of Non-Formal Education

● It is not included in the core syllabus of the school system

● It is very flexible and incorporates a student's regular study structure to get the best education.

● One can start a non-formal education at any time and age.

● Non-formal education can be both certified or uncertified.

● The education structure can be both part-time and full-time.

● The syllabus of a non-formal course usually incorporates both theoretical and practical practices.

● There is flexibility in non formal type of learning for eg, if a student is working then the education can be structured and tailored, customized accordingly.

Advantages of Non-Formal Education

● Non-formal education system is usually open for both public and private domains.

● There is no requirement or mandate to appear for regular exams in this form of non formal education.

● Diplomas and certificates here does not define your talent as it is only for skill development

● With skill development courses, this type of education encourages aspirants to use their theoretical knowledge for practical purposes.

● It gives students more area of practical learning and knowledge than formal structures but at the same time in a limited time frame where they can practise and learn under a professional.

Disadvantages of Non-Formal Education

● Usually without a teacher and a professional, there can be wrong information given away.

● Since there are no regular examinations, it is difficult to attest the student’s learning and how much they have retained and learned.

● One must be wary of unrecognized and unauthorized institutions as they can give out fake certificates that are of no use and deemed useless.

K P Sheeja

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