Three modes of education

The three modes of
adult education are
formal, non-formal
and informal. Formal
education refers mostly
to initial education that
is ‘institutionalized, intentional and planned through
public organizations and recognized private bodies’ and
‘recognized as such by the relevant national education or
equivalent authorities’ (UIS, 2012b).
Non-formal education is ‘any organized, systematic,
educational activity, carried on outside the framework
of the formal system, to provide selected types of learning’.
It takes distinct forms, including lectures, seminars and
workshops with established learning objectives and
content, tutoring and private lessons, on-the-job training,
and open and distance learning. While the dominant reasonfor participation is job related, it is difficult in practice to
neatly determine precisely why people engage in
non-formal adult learning (Rubenson, 1999).
Informal education, in the widest sense, is arguably
the most prevalent mode. It is defined as intentional
or deliberate, but not institutionalized. Activities
include learning ‘in the family, workplace, local
community and daily life, on a self-directed, familydirected,
or socially directed basis’ (UIS, 2012b).
Because it is less organized and structured than the
other two modes, it falls outside the scope of measuring
participation in education.

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