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Like formal education (but unlike informal, incidental or random learning), non-formal education is education that is institutionalised, intentional and planned by an education provider. The defining characteristic of non-formal education is that it is an addition, alternative and/or complement to formal education within the process of lifelong learning of individuals. It is often provided in order to guarantee the right of access to education for all. It caters to people of all ages but does not necessarily apply a continuous pathway structure; it may be short in duration and/or low-intensity; and it is typically provided in the form of short courses, workshops or seminars. Non-formal education mostly leads to qualifications that are not recognised as formal or equivalent to formal qualifications by the relevant national or sub-national education authorities or to no qualifications at all. Nevertheless, formal, recognised qualifications may be obtained through exclusive participation in specific non-formal education programmes; this often happens when the non-formal programme completes the competencies obtained in another context.
Access resource, available in EnglishAs national education systems vary in terms of structure and curricular content, it can be difficult to benchmark performance across countries over time or monitor progress towards national and international goals. In order to understand and properly interpret the inputs, processes and outcomes of education systems from a global perspective, it is vital to ensure that data are comparable. This can be done by applying the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), the standard framework used to categorise and report cross-nationally comparable education statistics.
Non-formal education and training is understood as education and training leading to qualifications which are not directly recognised as such by relevant national education authorities (or equivalent authorities) or not leading to any qualifications at all (although recognition and validation of learning outcomes could then be used and indirectly lead to formal qualifications). This concept is therefore distinguished from formal education and training, which: (a) typically takes place in (or, in the case of formal apprenticeships, dually involve) the system of schools, colleges and universities and other formal education institutions; (b) normally, although not necessarily, constitutes a continuous ladder of education for children and young people; (c) is directly relevant for the determination of the highest level of formal education attained. It is also distinguished from random and informal learning which are not intentional and/or not institutionalised.
Non-formal education is defined as any organised and sustained educational activities that do not correspond exactly to the (…) definition of formal education. Non-formal education may therefore take place both within and outside educational institutions, and cater to persons of all ages. Depending on country contexts, it may cover educational programmes to impart adult literacy, basic education for out-of-school children, life skills, work skills and general culture. Non-formal education programmes do not necessarily follow the ladder system, and may have a differing duration.
Learning which is embedded in planned activities not explicitly designated as learning (in terms of learning objectives, learning time or learning support). Non-formal learning is intentional from the learner’s point of view.
Access resource, available in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, PortugueseThis multilingual glossary of terms used in education and training policy is intended for researchers and more generally for all those involved in education and training policy. It does not represent an exhaustive inventory of the terminology used by specialists; rather it identifies a selection of key terms that are essential for an understanding of current education and training policy in Europe. This glossary is an updated and extended version of the Terminology of vocational training policy, published by Cedefop in 2004. [...]
Any organised and sustained educational activity that does not correspond exactly to the definition of formal education. Non-formal education may therefore take place both within and outside educational institutions, and cater to persons of all ages.
Access resource, available in EnglishThis glossary is a compilation of Australian vocational education and training (VET) terms and acronyms. It includes both current and historical terms, concepts, acronyms and other abbreviations found in Australian VET research, policy and data.
Non formal education and training: Learning embedded in planned activities that are not explicitly designated as learning, but which contain an important learning element.
Access resource, available in EnglishThis glossary has been published in the "International Handbook of Education for the Changing World of Work" (Vol. 1, chapter 5)
Education which takes place outside the formal system on either a regular or an intermittent basis.
Access resource, available in Arabic, English, French, Russian, SpanishThis publication is a practical terminology in the field of technical and vocational education for the purposes of international communication. After use of the original English/French version for over five years in numerous regional and international meetings, conferences, seminars and workshops held in those two languages, it was felt that publication of the guide in additional international languages would permit Unesco to contribute further to a better understanding in Member States of the Revised Recommendation concerning Technical and Vocational Education (1974), would facilitate the implementation of this instrument and would foster a more effective exchange of information in the field of technical and vocational education.
Education that is institutionalized, intentional and planned by an education provider. The defining characteristic of non-formal education is that it is an addition, alternative and/or a complement to formal education within the process of the lifelong learning of individuals. It is often provided to guarantee the right of access to education for all. It caters for people of all ages, but does not necessarily apply a continuous pathway-structure; it may be short in duration and/or low intensity, and it is typically provided in the form of short courses, workshops or seminars. Non-formal education mostly leads to qualifications that are not recognized as formal qualifications by the relevant national educational authorities or to no qualifications at all. Non-formal education can cover programmes contributing to adult and youth literacy and education for out-of-school children, as well as programmes on life skills, work skills, and social or cultural development.
Access resource, available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, ChineseThe UIS Glossary includes statistical terms related to education, science, technology and innovation, culture, and communication & information . Some of the entries contain translations in one or more of the following languages: Arabic, English, French and Spanish. Other entries provide more detailed information, such as definitions, calculation formulas for indicators and sources. Indicators are marked with an asterisk (*). This is a dynamic tool, which is regularly updated by the UIS.
Organised and systematic learning activity conducted outside the formal education system.
Access resource, available in EnglishThe "Glossary of key terms on learning and training for work" provides a comprehensive overview of terms and their definition used in the field of human resource development and training. Each tenn is followed by its definition and link to related terms. When a term has a broader general meaning, the definition given in the Glossary refers to its use in the training context. Both terms and definitions, as well as cross-references to synonyms and related terms are commonly used by the International Labour Office (ILO) and several other intematlonal organizations involved in human resources development and training.
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