What is Formal Education?

I’m gearing up for the second E-Development, Educational, in the PEMFESS+P Series. As I began penning, I segued into writing about Education as a preamble.

What exactly is Education? Is it necessary – why or why not? After the first preamble, I realized that I had assumed all readers knew what formal education is. I paused to write this second preamble to correct the assumption; both leading to the upcoming E-Educational Development post.

What is Education; its Function or Purpose?

The Oxford Dictionary defines education as “the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university.”

I found an infographic on the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) website which gave different purposes of Education. According to A. W. Forshay, other purposes have also been widely accepted; such as,

  • “to develop the intellect,
  • to serve social needs,
  • to contribute to the economy,
  • to create an effective work force,
  • to prepare students for a job or career, and
  • to promote a particular social or political system.”

A 1957 purpose states that:

“The main purpose of the American school is to provide for the fullest possible development of each learner for living morally, creatively, and productively in a democratic society.”

M. L. King Jr., in his speech at Morehouse College in 1948, stated the educational purpose as:

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason but no morals. … We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”

All the above are valid today and we can deduce that the function, purpose, or definition of Education will vary diversely. The true definition and purpose should encompass every view which will be the receipt of instruction and development of the whole person to be a productive contributor primarily to themselves and secondarily to society.

What is your own definition or purpose of Education? I’d love to hear it.

Types of Education

Education has been grouped into three types, though I feel that two types would have sufficed. The three are:

  1. Formal
  2. Informal
  3. Non formal

Formal Education

Formal education is the structured classroom-setting type that most people are used to. It uses a framework based on the student’s age and follows vertical hierarchy. Most formal education starts from pre-school or kindergarten through primary (or elementary) to secondary, which may or may not be divided into middle and high schools, and onward to college. The K to 12 formal education follows a strict curriculum set by the Department of Education and administered through the various School Districts. The Board of Trustees are the governing bodies of universities in the U.S..

Before moving on and up to the next class or grade, you will have to be tested on what you’ve learned in your current class/grade or course as well as readiness for the next level.

It is possible to pass through the formal education without the education passing through the person/student. A post for another day.

Informal Education

Any form of education (learning instructions) outside of the formal (school setting) type falls under the informal education. This includes life lessons from parents, a community, online, mentor, coach, etc.

Non Formal Education

The non-formal education is a learning that is more practical. It does not follow any age requirements and may not conduct exams as a requirement to move up. Home schooling, adult schools, vocational, professional training, etc. fall under this type of education.

Both informal and non-formal educations are unstructured but provide alternatives for anyone to be literate and acquire specific skills. They are independently focused on the person, group, or goal.

Which Type is Superior?

I strongly believe that the formal education is the most important, though all three are essential. Graduating from college does not have to stop one’s learning and development else, as Einstein said, the education will interfere with your learning.

The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”

Albert Einstein

And some professions require a continuing education to ensure that the individuals sharpen their knowledge and skills and are up-to-date with technology and any recent changes in the profession .

Lifelong learning is essential to a strong development of self, and the means justifies the end. – ThinkerTalker

This post is Preamble 1 and I hope it clarifies Preamble 2.


4 thoughts on “What is Formal Education?

  1. Pingback: So you think you’re ready for marriage. How’s your E-Educational Development? – ThinkTalk

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