Education that is institutionalised, intentional and planned by an education provider. The defining characteristic of non-formal education is that it is an addition, alternative and/or a complement to formal education within the process of the lifelong learning of individuals. It is often provided to guarantee the right of access to education for all. It caters for people of all ages, but does not necessarily apply a continuous pathway-structure; it may be short in duration and/or low intensity, and it is typically provided in the form of short courses, workshops or seminars.

Characteristics of Non-Formal Education

• It takes place outside the school organisation or school system.

• It focuses on imparting vocational training to the student and is generally linked to vocational and functional literacy. i.e. each one teach one.

• It is an open-ended process of education with lots of discussions, sharing, exploring, analysing, judging, etc.

• It is well planned and there may or may not be a definite course or curriculum.

• There is no age limit or barrier to undergo non-formal education.

• Certificates, awards, may or may not be awarded at the end of the learning.

• Fees may not always be paid.

It is a voluntary mode of education. The student has the choice to take up what interests him.

• Courses may be full-time or part-time.

• It is more practical and useful for day to day life than the theory based formal education.

• Trainer and trainee share a relationship of same level.

• Emphasis is on self-learning and professional improvement is specific to that skill or vocation being taught.