Are you tired of the same old routine in your educational journey? Do you feel like there’s more to learning than just sitting in a classroom and listening to lectures? If so, you’re not alone. Many people are discovering the benefits of non-formal learning, which offers an alternative approach to education that can be just as effective as traditional formal learning.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between formal and non-formal education and examine the advantages and disadvantages of each. Whether you’re a student looking to break out of the box or an educator seeking new methods to engage your students, this post will provide you with a fresh perspective on the world of learning. So, let’s step outside the box and discover what education has to offer beyond the classroom walls.

What is Formal Education

Formal education refers to the structured and organized system of education that takes place within a formal institution, such as a school or university. It is a traditional method of learning that is widely recognized and accepted by society as a means of acquiring knowledge and skills. Formal education typically involves a set curriculum, designated instructors, specific learning objectives, and standardized testing or assessment.

Formal education is often associated with obtaining degrees and certifications that are necessary for certain professions or career paths. The curriculum in formal education is predetermined and typically follows a set sequence, with students moving from one level to another as they meet certain requirements. The classroom setting is usually formal, with a teacher leading the class and students expected to follow a specific set of rules and regulations.

Formal education can be broken down into different levels, such as primary education, secondary education, and higher education. Primary education typically refers to the initial stage of formal education that is designed to provide a foundation in basic subjects such as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Secondary education builds upon this foundation and provides a more comprehensive education that prepares students for higher education or the workforce. Higher education typically refers to post-secondary education, such as college or university, that provides specialized education in a particular field of study.

What is Non-Formal Education

Non-formal education is a flexible and learner-centred approach to education that takes place outside of the traditional formal education system. It focuses on individual learning needs and interests and is often based on practical experiences and real-world applications.

Non-formal education is often used to supplement formal education and can be a valuable way to develop skills and knowledge that may not be covered in a traditional classroom setting. It is also a way to provide education to those who may not have access to formal education, such as individuals in rural or remote areas.

This version of education is designed to be flexible and adaptable to the needs and interests of learners. It can take many different forms, including workshops, seminars, online courses, apprenticeships, community programs, and experiential learning opportunities. Non-formal education can be especially valuable for individuals who may not have access to formal education, such as those in rural or remote areas or those who cannot afford the cost of formal education. It can also be a valuable way to supplement formal education and gain practical experience or skills that may not be covered in a traditional classroom setting.

What are the benefits of Formal Education

  • Certification: Formal education typically results in a recognised degree or diploma, which can provide proof of academic achievement and serve as a qualification for employment.
  • Structured Learning: Formal education provides a structured learning environment with set curricula, learning objectives, and assessments. This can help learners to develop a broad-based education and a foundation of knowledge in multiple subject areas.
  • Qualified Instructors: Formal education is typically delivered by trained instructors who have expertise in their subject areas and can provide guidance and support to learners.
  • Access to Resources: Formal education institutions often have access to a wide range of resources, including libraries, laboratories, and other facilities, which can enhance the learning experience.
  • Networking Opportunities: Formal education institutions provide opportunities for learners to connect with peers and build professional networks, which can be valuable for career development and personal growth.
  • Higher Earning Potential: Formal education is often associated with higher earning potential, as individuals with advanced degrees or specialised training may be qualified for higher-paying jobs.

The advantages of non-formal education

  • Flexibility: Non-formal education is often designed to be flexible and adaptable to the needs and interests of learners. This can allow individuals to pursue learning opportunities on their own schedule and at their own pace.
  • Accessibility: Non-formal education can be more accessible than formal education for individuals who may not have access to traditional classrooms or who may not be able to afford the cost of formal education.
  • Focus on Practical Skills: Non-formal education often focuses on practical skills and hands-on learning, which can be valuable for individuals who are seeking to develop specific skills or gain practical experience in a particular field.
  • Informal Learning: Non-formal education can take place in a variety of informal settings, such as community programs or experiential learning opportunities. This can allow individuals to learn from subject matter experts or practitioners who may not be formally trained as teachers.
  • Personalized Learning: Non-formal education can be tailored to the specific needs and interests of learners, allowing individuals to pursue learning opportunities that are relevant to their personal and professional goals.
  • Lifelong Learning: Non-formal education can provide opportunities for individuals to continue learning and developing new skills throughout their lives, which can contribute to personal growth and career advancement.

What is a free or almost free education

Free or almost free education refers to educational opportunities that are available to learners at little or no cost. This can include a variety of different types of education, including formal and non-formal education.

In the formal education system, free or almost free education may be offered at public schools and universities. Tuition fees may be subsidized by the government or other funding sources. In some countries, primary and secondary education may be provided free of charge to all students, while higher education may be offered at a reduced cost or free to students who meet certain eligibility criteria.

In the non-formal education sector, free or almost free education may be available through community programs, online courses, or other learning opportunities. These programs may be designed to provide learners with access to practical skills training, career development opportunities, or personal enrichment activities at little or no cost.

A story of Amina, transforming her life through non-formal education

There was a young refugee named Amina who had fled her home country due to conflict and instability. Amina had always been interested in technology and dreamed of pursuing a career in coding, but she never had the opportunity to receive formal education in this field.

One day, Amina heard about a coding bootcamp that was offering scholarships to refugees who were interested in learning how to code. Excited at the opportunity, Amina applied for the scholarship and was overjoyed when she was accepted into the program.

Despite facing many challenges as a refugee, Amina persevered and worked hard to develop her skills and knowledge in coding. She quickly realized that technology had the power to change lives and make a positive impact on the world.

After completing the coding bootcamp, Amina went on to pursue a career in technology, eventually landing a job at a software development company. Thanks to the scholarship provided by the coding bootcamp, Amina was able to access educational opportunities that would have otherwise been out of reach for her as a refugee.

Social Hackers Academy in the Space of Non-Formal Education

Social Hackers Academy (SHA) is a non-governmental organization based in Athens that offers a unique approach to non-formal education. As an online coding bootcamp, SHA provides a Full-Stack Web Development Career track that has successfully trained 21 classes of students from all corners of the globe.

At SHA, we believe that education should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their background or financial situation. Our goal is to empower individuals with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue careers in technology and positively impact the world.

Our non-formal education approach is based on a blended learning model that combines self-paced online learning with live instruction from experienced instructors. Students work through a series of interactive exercises, projects, and assessments, receiving feedback and guidance from their peers and instructors along the way.

Through our Full-Stack Web Development Career track, students learn the fundamentals and intermediate knowledge of front-end and back-end web development, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Node.js, React, and more. They also gain valuable skills in teamwork, communication, and problem-solving, which are essential for success in any field.

At SHA, we believe that non-formal education has the power to transform lives and create positive change in the world. Also, we are providing free access to high-quality educational opportunities, we aim to empower individuals to pursue their dreams and achieve their full potential. Our free courses for Web Development are in huge demand, and students from anywhere are actively participating in them!

Does the World recognize the non-Formal education

Over the years, the world has begun to recognize the value and importance of non-formal education. While formal education remains a cornerstone of the educational system, non-formal education has emerged as a powerful and effective alternative for individuals seeking to learn new skills and gain knowledge.

One reason for the growing recognition of non-formal education is the increasing demand for a more flexible and personalized approach to learning. Non-formal education offers learners the opportunity to design their own learning path, selecting courses and programs that align with their interests, goals, and schedule.

Another reason for the recognition of non-formal education is the changing nature of work and the economy. As technological advancements continue to disrupt traditional industries and create new job opportunities, individuals need to continuously update their skills and knowledge to stay relevant and competitive in the job market.

Moreover, non-formal education provides opportunities for those who may not have access to formal education due to financial, social, or other barriers. This can include refugees, individuals from marginalized communities, or those who simply cannot afford to attend a traditional college or university.

The Winner is

And the winner is…you! By taking part in non-formal education, you are investing in yourself, your future, and your community. Whether you are seeking to start a new career, upgrade your skills, or simply pursue your passion, non-formal education provides a flexible and accessible pathway to achieve your goals.

At Social Hackers Academy, we are proud to offer our Full-Stack Web Development Career track as an amazing opportunity for individuals from all over the world. We have free courses in Web Development where at your own pace, you can learn great things and be impressed by what you can achieve in the near future. Our program has helped dozens of students kickstart their careers in tech, and we are excited to see what the future holds for them.

But we are just one example of the many organizations and institutions that are investing in non-formal education and creating opportunities for individuals to learn and grow. By taking advantage of these opportunities, you can gain valuable skills, expand your knowledge, and connect with a global community of learners and experts.

So don’t wait any longer. Start exploring the world of non-formal education today, and see where it can take you.