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Non-Formal Education

Learning is not restricted to the time spent in school. It begins at birth and continues all your life. 

The present pattern in which we have education at the beginning of our lives, then work in one field until an extended retirement period, is changing. Lifelong learning is becoming part of modern life. This is because rapid technological change and growth in information require ongoing learning. 

Given the importance of learning foundations, currently those who miss out on basic education suffer exclusion. However, ongoing learning throughout life enables people to take advantage of new opportunities that arise as society changes. It also provides opportunities for those who are unemployed to re-enter the workforce.

Every kind of learning that happens outside the traditional school setting can be called non-formal. However, defining non-formal education is not easy, it has been described variously as an educational movement, a setting, a process and a system.

The projects and programmes implemented under the label of 'non-formal education' are very diverse in scope. What they usually have in common is an organised, systematic, educational activity, carried on outside the framework of the formal education system, to provide different types of learning to particular groups in the population, both adults and children.

Thus non-formal education is different from the institutionalised, chronologically graded and hierarchically structured nature of the formal education system However, the boundaries between formal and non-formal education can sometimes be blurred, especially when certification enters into a non-formal education programme.
Radio, television, computers and the Internet are modern delivery tools for education. However, in low-income communities the cost of these tools and the need for skills in installing, using and maintaining these tools poses obstacles to widespread adoption of computers and the Internet.

One solution has been the establishment of Community Learning Centres (CLCs) and Multimedia Community Telecentres. These centres, many of which are run by the communities themselves, aim to enhance basic education, train teachers, develop local businesses, strengthen municipal administration and civil society organisations, and provide health care information for populations in small villages.

By equipping these centres with ICT tools, these centres provide connectivity and communication mechanisms to all. 
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