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Non-formal Education: Indicators at Micro-Meso Levels

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

Abstract

A systems theory focus reveals the need to build on strengths for promotion of growth rather than simply seeking to overcome deficits. This strengths-based approach invites consideration of strategies to develop community leaders for groups traditionally marginalised from the educational system. With only limited examples evident in the national reports, this issue of promoting community leaders in communities experiencing high levels of social marginalisation is an area needing significant further development for lifelong learning, to foster access to education for traditionally underrepresented groups.

It is evident from a number of national reports that the arts offer a key bridge into societal and systemic participation via non-formal education—and that they are a strong feature of non-formal education across many countries. This includes examples of collaborative engagement in festivals, theatre and drama as key local community interest given expression through non-formal education. Benefits of the arts in engaging those who may be most difficult to reach include that there is less fear of failure as there tends not to be a convergent ‘right’ answer in the arts, more embodied types of learning can be pursued and more culture relevant materials can be taught.

As observed in a number of national reports, non-formal education may be a key mediating structure and pathway into subsequent formal education. There is a significant amount of potential to develop these structured links in a much more strategically focused fashion across European countries. The difficulty of long-term budgeting in the non-formal education sector impacts upon staff contracts and continuity in some countries more than others. Observed benefits of staff continuity are discussed.

A number of observed obstacles to recognition of prior learning are highlighted. A further concern is that the distinctive features of non-formal education will be lost by a formalisation and regulation process for recognition of prior learning. Another issue is perceptions of extreme discrepancies in quality across non-formal and also private educational institutions. This is hindering institutional willingness to engage in recognition of prior learning and may be a particular issue in at least some Central and Eastern European countries in particular and including Austria and Russia.

Keywords

Formal Education Educational Institution Lifelong Learning National Report Active Citizenship 
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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