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Characteristics of Nonformal Education

Nonformal education is the term applied to locallevel programs for the adult poor in developing countries (La Belle, 1986, p. 1). Nonformal education was a response to a perceived need related to the high cost, unavilability, and inadequancy of schools in many developing countries (La Belle, 1986, p. 2). Nonformal education has been defined as the lifelong process by which every person acquires and accumulates knowledge, skills, and insights from daily experiences and exposure to the environment (La Belle, 1986, p. 2). Nonformal education has been alternatively described as any organized systematic educational activity carried on outside the framework of the formal educational system, to provide selected types of learning to particular subgroups in the population (La Belle, 1986, p. 2).

Perceiving the need for nonformal education within the failure of a country's formal school system causes the concept of nonformal education to have points in common with Ivan Illich's concept of education. Illich also views school as one of the major societal problems which must be overcome. In this context, it should be noted that Illich does not advocate an end to education, but rather the process by which it is provided. For Illich, school, as it exists in contemporary

society, (1) creates societal divisions, (2) indoctrinates and attempts to perpetuate institutionalized values, which are, as often as not, not in the best interests of society, (3) stifles individuality and creativity through the imposition of quantitative measurement straightjacket, (4) sells values in a packaged context, with the lure that acceptance of the package will lead to selfperpetuating progress, and (5) creates a new religion, in which a universalization of expectations is developed expectations which, in most instances, cannot bear fruit.

Illich contends that liberating oneself from school will dispel illusions, and that most learning req...

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Characteristics of Nonformal Education. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 02:33, February 23, 2017, from