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Education is a broad concept that refers to the process of learning. In the technical and vocational education context it means education which aims to equip people with skills and competences that can be used in the labour market.
Source: UNEVOC, UN

(1) The process of imparting awareness, knowledge, skills and attitudes or behaviors; (2) the field of study concerned with teaching and learning.
Source: Wahba, Egypt

Education dropout

(also simply Dropout) Withdrawal from an education or training programme before its completion.


(a) this term designates both the process (early school leaving) and the persons (early school leavers) who fail to complete a course;

(b) besides early school leavers, dropouts may also include learners who have completed education or training but failed the examinations.
Source: CEDEFOP, Europe

Education for all (EFA)

The Education for All movement is a global commitment to provide quality basic education for all children, youth and adults. The movement was launched at the World Conference on Education for All in 1990 by UNESCO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Bank. Participants endorsed an 'expanded vision of learning' and pledged to universalize primary education and massively reduce illiteracy by the end of the decade 2005-2015.

Ten years later, with many countries far from having reached this goal, the international community met again in Dakar, Senegal, and affirmed their commitment to achieving Education for All. They identified six key education goals which aim to meet the learning needs of all children, youth and adults by 2015:

Goal 1: Expand early childhood care and education

Goal 2: Provide free and compulsory primary education for all

Goal 3: Promote learning and life skills for young people and adults

Goal 4: Increase adult literacy by 50 per cent

Goal 5: Achieve gender parity by 2005, gender equality by 2015

Goal 6: Improve the quality of education

TVET particularly contributes to EFA goals 3 and 6 as they relate to life skills.

As the lead agency, UNESCO has been mandated to coordinate the international efforts to reach Education for All. Governments, development agencies, civil society, non-government organizations and the media are but some of the partners working toward reaching these goals.
Source: UNEVOC, UN

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

People in every country of the world must plan for, cope with, and find solutions to issues that threaten the sustainability of our planet. Involving the three spheres of environment, society and economy, education for sustainable development (ESD) can assist people to understand and address the global issues that affect the sustainability of communities and nations.

Quoting the world commission on Environment and development, 1987, "sustainable development is the ability to make development sustainable-to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

As pointed out in the UNESCO-UNEVOC discussion paper on Orienting TVET for Sustainable Development, "Sustainable development is not a fixed concept; rather it is a culturally directed search for a dynamic balance between social, economic and natural systems that seeks to promote equity between the present and the future, and equity between countries, races, social classes and genders."
Source: UNEVOC, UN

Education/industry relationship

Relationship between students, educational institutions and industry.
Source: NCVER2, Australia

Education/work relationship

Relationship between educational programmes or courses of study and status or opportunities in the workforce.
Source: NCVER2, Australia

Education/training path

The sum of learning sequences followed by an individual to acquire knowledge, skills or competences.
Source: CEDEFOP, Europe

Education provider

Organisation that provides education, either as a main or ancillary objective. This can be a public educational institution as well as a private enterprise, non-governmental organization or non-educational public body.

Educational institution

Established institution that provides education as its main purpose, such as a school, college, university or training centre. Such institutions are normally accredited or sanctioned by the relevant national education authorities or equivalent authorities. Educational institutions may also be operated by private organizations, such as religious bodies, special interest groups or private educational and training enterprises, both for profit and non-profit.


An inclusive term referring to teachers at schools; lecturers at colleges, traditional universities, comprehensive universities, and universities of technology; trainers in workplaces; facilitators, assessors, moderators, and people teaching, educating, training, facilitating or assessing learners across the board.
Source: SAQUA, South Africa

Basic education

The whole range of educational activities, taking place in various settings, that aim to meet basic learning needs as defined in the World Declaration on Education for All (Jomtien, Thailand, 1990). According to ISCED standard, basic education comprises primary education (first stage of basic education) and lower secondary education (second stage). It also covers a wide variety of non-formal and informal public and private activities intended to meet the basic learning needs of people of all ages.

Education and training that takes place in primary and secondary schools, as well as in adult education and training centres.
Source: SAQUA, South Africa

Compulsory education

The number of years or age span during which children are legally obliged to attend school.

The minimal legal standards and duration of obligatory schooling.
Source: CEDEFOP, Europe

Corporate education

Educational programmes or services offered by business and industry, either in-house or cooperatively with a TVET Institution.
Source: Wahba, Egypt

Correctional education

Education or training programs provided for persons in correctional institutions, especially as part of rehabilitation programs.
Source: NCVER1, Australia

Education or training programmes provided for persons as part of rehabilitation programmes.
Source: Wahba, Egypt

Community education

Education programmes which are community-based and community-directed and intended primarily for the members of the local community.
Source: Wahba, Egypt

General education

Education and training that takes place in primary and secondary schools, as well as in adult education and training centres.
Source: SAQUA, South Africa

Non-formal education (NFE)

Non-formal education became part of the international discourse on education policy in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It can be seen as related to the concepts of recurrent and lifelong learning. Tight (1996: 68) suggests that whereas the latter concepts have to do with the extension of education and learning throughout life, non-formal education is about 'acknowledging the importance of education, learning and training which takes place outside recognized educational institutions'. Fordham (1993) suggests that in the 1970s, four characteristics came be associated with non-formal education:

  • Relevance to the needs of disadvantaged groups.
  • Concern with specific categories of person.
  • A focus on clearly defined purposes.
  • Flexibility in organization and methods.
In many northern countries the notion of non-formal education is not common in internal policy debates - preferred alternatives being community education and community learning, informal educationand social pedagogy.

The idea of non-formal education

As Fordham (1993) relates, in 1967 at an international conference in Williamsburg USA, ideas were set out for what was to become a widely read analysis of the growing 'world educational crisis' (Coombs 1968). There was concern about unsuitable curricula; a realization that educational growth and economic growth were not necessarily in step, and that jobs did not emerge directly as a result of educational inputs. Many countries were finding it difficult (politically or economically) to pay for the expansion of formal education.

The conclusion was that formal educational systems had adapted too slowly to the socio-economic changes around them and that they were held back not only by their own conservatism, but also by the inertia of societies themselves. If we also accept that educational policy making tends to follow rather than lead other social trends, then it followed that change would have to come not merely from within formal schooling, but from the wider society and from other sectors within it. It was from this point of departure that planners and economists in the World Bank began to make a distinction between informal, non-formal and formal education. (Fordham 1993: 2)cover: learning to beAt around the same time there were moves in UNESCO toward lifelong education and notions of 'the learning society' which culminated in Learning to Be ('The Faure Report', UNESCO 1972). Lifelong learning was to be the 'master concept' that should shape educational systems (UNESCO 1972:182). What emerged was an influential tripartite categorization of learning systems. It's best known statement comes from the work of Combs with Prosser and Ahmed (1973):

Formal education: the hierarchically structured, chronologically graded 'education system', running from primary school through the university and including, in addition to general academic studies, a variety of specialised programmes and institutions for full-time technical and professional training.

Informal education: the truly lifelong process whereby every individual acquires attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from daily experience and the educative influences and resources in his or her environment - from family and neighbours, from work and play, from the market place, the library and the mass media.

""Non-formal education"": any organised educational 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 clienteles and learning objectives.

The distinction made is largely administrative. Formal education is linked with schools and training institutions; non-formal with community groups and other organizations; and informal covers what is left, e.g. interactions with friends, family and work colleagues. (See, for example, Coombs and Ahmed 1974). The problem with this is that people often organize educational events as part of their everyday experience and so the lines blur rapidly. As Fordham (1993) comments, these definitions do not imply hard and fast categories. In particular, there may well be some overlap (and confusion) between the informal and the non-formal.

Just how helpful a focus on administrative setting or institutional sponsorship is a matter of some debate. Once we recognize that a considerable amount of education happens beyond the school wall it may be that a simple division between formal and informal education will suffice. It has certainly been the argument of Jeffs and Smith (1990) that the notion of non-formal education has limited use when thinking about process. <[http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-nonfor.htm]

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.

Education which takes place outside the formal system on either a regular or an intermittent basis.
Source: UNESCO, UN

Organised and systematic learning activity conducted outside the formal education system.
Source: ILO, UN

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.
Source: CEDEFOP, Europe

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.
Source: NCVER1, Australia

Any organized educational activity and training outside the established formal system, that is, intended for specific objectives and to serve identifiable clientele.
Source: TESDA, Philippines

Non-formal education and training

learning embedded in planned activities that are not explicitly designated as learning, but which contain an important learning element.
Source: Wahba, Egypt

Online education

(also online learning and online training) Learning or training conducted via a computer network e.g. using the internet and the World Wide Web, a local area network (LAN),or an intranet.
Source: Wahba, Egypt

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