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Non-formal Education: Indicators at Macro-Exo Levels

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Part of the Lifelong Learning Book Series book series (LLLB, volume 21)

Abstract

For those traditionally alienated from the formal education system, the non-formal educational sector can serve as a key bridge towards social inclusion. Its climate tends to be more inviting, informal and flexible for learners who are often intimidated by the thought of ‘going back’ for more education after usually negative experiences of schooling; non-formal education classes are less concerned with assessment processes.

Emerging from this review of national reports is the need for a much more accentuated strategic focus at national and regional levels on promotion of non-formal education generally and specifically for targeting socio-economically excluded groups for participation in non-formal education. A corollary of such a strategic commitment is provision of distinct funding strands for non-formal education, in conjunction with European structural funds. The question arises as to the extent to which the lifelong learning approach in EU Council Recommendation (Council conclusions of 12 May 2009 on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (‘ET 2020’), 2009/C 119/02) encompassing active citizenship, personal fulfilment and social cohesion is given manifestation in the structures and strategies of member states, with respect to non-formal (and formal) education.

The danger of ‘colonisation’ of the non-formal education sector by formal education was highlighted in some national reports. There is a need for any validation process of the work in the non-formal sector to be different from that of the formal education sector. The flexibility and relationality of the non-formal sector must not be lost through reducing it to the formal education sector.

Community lifelong learning centres give effect to a systems theory focus not only in relation to transition for the individual but also regarding a promotion of growth rather than emphasis on deficits and through a focus on the strengths of the local community. Observed advantages of such centres are highlighted. It is evident that while there are a range of examples of local community-based lifelong learning centres as part of non-formal education across a number of countries, there is a clear need for a more strategic approach to develop such centres to be led at EU Commission level. Less in evidence from the national reports, with the exception of Ireland, are examples of community-based lifelong learning centres which engage with the vision of lifelong learning as being from the cradle to the grave, as is the EU Commission definition.

Keywords

Formal Education Lifelong Learning National Report Education Sector Adult Education 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Disadvantage Centre St. Patrick’s CollegeDublin City UniversityDublinIreland

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