Informal, non-formal and formal education programmes

Picture: Playing games @ one of Seva Mandir's Non-Formal Education Centers. Picture by Anna Wolf and sourced from Flickr. Reproduced under a Creatvive Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) licence.

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In this piece Paul Fordham explores the emergence of the influential typology of education programmes as informal, non-formal and formal. The notions are considered in relation to the concern to foster economic development. Particular attention is paid to the characteristics of non-formal education in relation to participation, purposes and methods. Debates around ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approaches are also explored.

Contents: introduction · lifelong learning and the Coombs definitions · formal education, non-formal education and development · the characteristics of non-formal education · ‘Top Down and Bottom Up’ · basic education and the Jomtien Conference · further reading and references · Paul Fordham · acknowledgements · how to cite this piece

Here we will examine the use of the terms informal, non-formal and formal education as this has developed since the late 1960s. Although the terminology was popularized in relation to poor countries, it has also been applied to industrialized countries, particularly in the context of community education and work with groups under represented in mainstream adult education provision (e.g. unemployed, working class, women seeking employment).

This typology of educational programmes became current in the early 1970s. For twenty years after 1945, almost all educational systems had grown at a faster rate than ever before, with a doubling of school enrolments in many countries (Coombs 1985: 3). The political and social upheavals during and following the end of the second world war, were accompanied by the belief that the rapid expansion of education was a necessary catalyst for social reconstruction and development, both in industrialized countries, and in the growing number of newly independent states. In the 1950s and early 1960s, it was assumed by many commentators, not least by educators themselves, that linear expansion of formal schooling was both desirable and inevitable. It was also assumed that there was a direct relationship between educational and economic expansion: between the growth in numbers of educated people and the number of jobs likely to become available. This belief seems naive today, but it was the accepted wisdom of the time.

The main challenge to conventional wisdom came from educational planners. At a 1967 international conference in Williamsburg USA, ideas were set out for what was to become a widely read analysis of the growing ‘world educational crisis’ (Coombs 1968). There was growing concern about: unsuitable curricula; a realization that educational growth and economic growth were not necessarily in step, and that jobs did not emerge directly as a result of educational inputs. Above all, many countries found they were quite unable, or at least unwilling, to pay the ever rising costs of unlimited linear expansion. The conclusion was that formal educational systems had adapted too slowly to the socio-economic changes around them and that they were held back not only by their own conservatism, but also by the inertia of societies themselves. If we also accept that educational policy making tends to follow rather than lead other social trends, then it followed that change would have to come not merely from within formal schooling, but from the wider society and from other sectors within it. It was from this point of departure that planners and economists in the World Bank began to make a distinction between informal, non-formal and formal education.

These ideas were developed in two influential books which, although they concentrated on poor countries, came to be seen as having world wide relevance. As the economies of industrialized countries (and their educational systems) also faltered during the 1970s, it was re-emphasised that the ‘educational crisis’ was indeed worldwide. The first of these influential books (Coombs with Prosser & Ahmed 1973) contains the definitions which have now become standard, while the second (Coombs with Ahmed 1974) is a more detailed analysis of ‘how non-formal education can help’ the ‘attack on rural poverty’. As will be elaborated below, one of the defining characteristics of `non-formal’, is in fact its link with purposes which are designed to serve those who have gained least from formal schooling.

Lifelong learning and the Coombs definitions

At about the same time as planners were seeking to re-define fundamental educational concepts in terms of new economic and social development priorities, UNESCO had published (1972) its forward looking `Faure Report’ on the future of education. The Report was a classic re-statement of the humanistic and scientific bases of educational thought; but it was also written in a way which placed education within a framework of other kinds of economic and social development. At its core was the concept of the learning society. Drawing on the best of past practice and embracing the possibilities of new discoveries and technologies, education was seen as covering all age groups and all sections of society. ‘We propose lifelong learning as the master concept’ which should in future determine the shape of educational systems (UNESCO 1972:182). If this is accepted, out-of-school education becomes as important as the formal system, and it was, at that moment, timely to move away both from the idea that education and schooling were one, and also that learning was or could be confined to particular places, times or age groups. Planners had succeeded in putting a tripartite analysis of learning systems onto the educators’ own agendas.

Figure 1: The Coombs typology of educational programmes

Definition (1) Informal Education: ‘…the truly lifelong process whereby every individual acquires attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from daily experience and the educative influences and resources in his or her environment-from family and neighbours, from work and play, from the marketplace, the library and the mass media…’

Definition (2) Formal Education: ‘…the hierarchically structured, chronologically graded “educational system”, running from primary school through the university and including, in addition to general academic studies, a variety of specialized programmes and institutions for full-time technical and professional training.’

Definition (3) Non-Formal Education: ‘…any organized educational activity outside the established formal system-whether operating separately or as an important feature of some broader activity-that is intended to serve identifiable learning clientèle and learning objectives.’ (Coombs et al 1973)

These definitions do not imply hard and fast categories. In particular, there may well be some overlap (and confusion) between the informal and the non-formal; this is considered below in the section on ‘Top Down and Bottom Up’. ‘Non-formal’ was the new term in the early 1970s; but although it was intended to make people look at education in a different way, the practice of non-formal education is as old as society itself, and would include religious initiation ceremonies (and the instruction which goes with them) and various kinds of apprenticeship training. NFE in the modern world embraces a vast range of educative services, such as health education, family planning, agricultural extension, functional literacy or the educational programmes of women’s groups.

The key elements are a clear definition of purposes and clienteles and an organized educational programme.

Used flexibly the definitions are a useful way of looking at and analysing some kinds of community education. What has to be avoided is unproductive argument about marginal cases and their allocation to categories.

Formal education, non-formal education and development

Until the late 1960s, formal education was seen as the necessary investment good in human capital which would produce `growth’ and therefore improved standards of life for all. The expansion of formal schooling, especially secondary and tertiary education,was emphasised, usually in conjunction with a manpower plan, in order to reduce the gap between per capita incomes in rich and poor countries and, by analogy, the gap between rich and poor in all, including industrialized countries; this was the urban, western, economists’ view and dominated contemporary international thinking. What actually happened was not expected. The poor became poorer, rural areas stagnated, unemployment became greater (and because it was urban, more visible), popular participation was nowhere in sight. But these ills were increasingly recognized and the sea change which occurred was caused first by re-definitions of `development’ and, later, by attempts to re-plan education to fit the new ideas.

We must conceive of underdevelopment as a constellation of circumstances, physical, social and political, which contribute to the deprivation of the mind as well as of the body. It involves the poverty that debilitates health, the ignorance and superstition which depress the human spirit, the conservatism that resists change, the social privileges which inhibit the fruition and proper use of talent and skill. Hence we have to conceive of development as a situation wherein man himself becomes both the object and the subject of his own improvement. (Castle 1972: 8)

This new view of development – now commonly accepted by international aid agencies – was also given prominence as the essential underpinning of the new education policies of the World Bank.

…questions of employment, environment, social equality, and, above all, participation in development by the less privileged now share with simple “growth” in the definition of objectives (and hence the model) of development toward which the effort of all parties is to be directed. (World Bank 1974: 10)

This was the context in which the non-formal idea took off. Remember that the key concerns were:

  • to improve the quality of life for the less privileged;
  • to encourage a cost effective contribution to economic and social development by conceiving of `education’ in new ways; and
  • to do so by reducing inequalities and unemployment and by increasing `popular participation’ in planning as well as in curriculum design and the process of learning.

The characteristics of non-formal education

In the 1970s, a number of educators began to analyse the nature of NFE. The characteristics referred to came to be divided into:

  • relevance to the needs of disadvantaged groups;
  • concern with specific categories of person;
  • concern with clearly defined purposes and
  • flexibility in organization and methods.

Perhaps the last of these has caused the most confusion because methods by themselves do not distinguish the formal from the non-formal. It is possible to have teaching in a ‘formal’ secondary school which is highly informal (e.g. a discussion group), while a non-formal class for unemployed workers might be highly formal in teaching methods and directed towards acquisition of a specific skill. It is the flexibility derived from the absence of externally derived curricula which is the distinguishing characteristic, and this may or may not include taking advantage of the opportunity to use more flexible or informal methods.

The disadvantaged

By ‘disavantaged’ I mean here all those social groups who are either under-represented in formal education or who are considered failures within it. Such educational disadvantage also correlates closely with other kinds of social deprivation, including poverty, unemployment and low social status.

If we begin from the lifelong learning principle and accept that this should apply to all – an idea most recently expressed internationally at the World Conference on Education For All (1990) – then it follows that NFE should concentrate on those who have been left out or who have dropped out of school and those who have been considered failures at school. And remember that `failure’ may often be defined simply as failure to secure employment at the end of a school or college course. Thus in countries where there was an explosive expansion of formal schools the concentration was often on unemployed school leavers, and in industrialized countries work related job training. These are still some of the crucial tasks of NFE into the 1990s.

An early example of post-primary skill training for the unemployed was the Village Polytechnic movement in Kenya. Many leavers from rural primary schools have been educated to accept that urban wage or salary employment is the norm to which they should aspire and it is often difficult for them to conceive of alternatives. The VP programme was started in the late 1960s to provide multi-purpose low cost training centres designed not merely to give useful skills to school leavers, but also to motivate them to create employment opportunities for themselves by providing goods and services required in their immediate neighbourhoods. By 1990 there were some 575 Polytechnics in existence with over 31,000 students attending artisan courses (UNESCO 1990a: 42: Fordham (ed.) 1980: 47). In the U.K. a parallel activity in the 1970s was the job-related training of the Manpower Services Commission, then the biggest provider of NFE in Britain.

However, not all NFE for the disadvantaged is designed to serve vocational needs. Another tradition is directed primarily at the participation of marginal groups themselves. In Latin America this might be called `popular education’ (Archer and Costello 1990), while in the west we would probably be talking about community projects or community development. One such project which specifically identified itself as NFE was the University of Southampton’s New Communities Project, 1973-76 (Fordham, Poulton and Randle 1979: 207-221). This was an attempt to shift existing adult education provision towards the enrolment of more working class students. The main finding of the action research involved was that existing provision was inappropriate and that a community development type of approach to organization led to a quite different type of work – the non-formal idea in practice. Learning came about not from formal classes, but from a community newspaper (editing, production, distribution), adult literacy, pressure for nursery education and the establishment of a physical base for community activities. Many learners came to the Project’s activities without having clear educational goals of their own; these were provided by the professional tutors and organizers. The professional attempt to carry forward an educational programme in all cases was what distinguished the project from more general community work or from informal (i.e. incidental) learning. This is the chief distinction between non-formal and informal as defined in this piece.


Non-formal education shares with adult education more generally the need for prior definition of purposes. A formal school system usually has its purposes defined for it, either by Government or a religious sponsor or an external examinations system. But an adult education programme, especially one that is not working towards an external examination, must usually define its purposes. Indeed, all programmes allied to social movements of one kind or another are defined in terms of purposes. R H Tawney undertaki

ng the early classes of the Workers’ Educational Association saw himself as helping in the emancipation of the working class (Tawney 1964), literacy has frequently been promoted to help people read the Bible or the Koran (UNESCO 1990b). Julius Nyerere put it as well as any when he asserted that:

A man learns because he wants to do something. And once he has started along this road of developing his capacity he also learns because he wants to be; to be a more conscious and understanding person…. the first function of adult education is to inspire both a desire for change and an understanding that change is possible. (Nyerere 1978: 28-29)

NFE for the disadvantaged is about reducing poverty, increasing equity and about greater equality in the distribution of power and resources. This implies a closeness to politics which makes some professionals uncomfortable. At the Commonwealth conference on NFE in 1979, Malcolm Adiseshiah noted:

…education is not politically neutral. It is an active supporter and faithful reflector of the status quo in society. If the status quo is predominantly unequal and unjust, and it is increasingly so, education will be increasingly unequal and unjust and there will be no place for non-formal education to improve the conditions of the poor. If, however, society is moving in an equalitarian direction, then non-formal education can and will flourish. (in Fordham (ed.) 1980: 21)

If we try to correlate the flourishing of NFE and political change then the 1970s can certainly be described as the decade of NFE (Rubenson 1982). Similarly the 1980s saw the neglect of NFE and many would assert that this was in tune with the politics of the decade, accompanied by greater inequalities both within and between countries.

Flexibility and work with specific groups

Many would argue that the most important characteristic of NFE is flexibility and it was noted above that this is not to be confused with informal methods of teaching. When the REPLAN programme was launched by the Department of Education and Science in 1984 to provide educational opportunities for unemployed adults in England and Wales, there was some confusion about what could be done. Many saw the provision of special vocational training as the answer but, drawing on the tradition of non-formal education for adults already established, what actually happened was that the REPLAN organization acted as a catalyst for change through the work of other providers ( Stoney et al 1990). Part of this effort was to ensure a flexible format for provision in terms of starting dates, timing and location when previously colleges and others had thought only in terms of their own established systems.

Mokades et al (1987) record case studies of two contrasting outer London local education authorities, where flexibility of approach was the essential element in a successful outcome (i.e. increasing both access and educational provision for the unemployed). In one case there was strong political commitment and plenty of well intended provision; but there was little recognizable order and continuing barriers to access. Here the task of REPLAN was to create `an orderly, comprehensible offer’ to replace the exis

ting administrative chaos. In the other case, unemployment was not seen as an issue, there was little provision and the unemployed were invisible. Here the task was ‘to get the show on the road’. The common element in each approach was to be flexible both in terms of organization and in the way `education’ was conceived.

Simkins (1976) analysed NFE in terms of purposes, timing, content delivery systems and control, and this is still the most useful analytical tool available. His ideal type models of formal and non-formal education can be used to apply to any programmes with which you may be familiar.

Figure 2: Ideal-Type Models of Formal and Non-Formal Education
Long-term & general
Short-term & specific
Credential based
Long cycle/preparatory/
Standardised/input centred
Individualised/output centred

Entry requirements determine

Clientele determine entry clientele requirements

Delivery system

Institution based, isolated from environment, rigidly structured, teacher centred & resource intensive
Environment based
Community related
Flexible, learner centred & resource saving
(Adapted from Simkins 1977: 12-15)

‘Top Down and Bottom Up’

One of the enduring themes in the literature of NFE has been that the education provided should be in the interests of the learners and that the organization and curriculum planning should preferably be undertaken by the learners themselves: that it should be `bottom up’. Moreover, it is often argued that this should empower learners to understand and if necessary change the social structure around them.

…non-formal education programs must not only add to an individual’s skills, knowledge and attitudes but also attend to the rules and structures in the wider social system… programs must be as concerned with fostering learning as they are with creating opportunities to transfer and apply what is learned. (La Belle 1976)

The way to overcome powerlessness and vulnerability is through learning; this enables people and societies to act on new knowledge based on an understanding of the how and why of events. For example, latrines and water tanks are used effectively not simply because the design is so good, but when the community is provided sufficient, and sufficiently interactive, opportunities to learn issues of hygiene as they relate to health; methods for designing and maintaining monitoring systems; skills in allocating resources for repairs; and, overall, that the system is theirs to be used for their own good as they see it. (Bernard in IDRC 1991: 36)

Examples where there is a genuine sense of ownership are not easy to find; and almost all have an element of community outreach as part of the general organization. There were a number of local REPLAN projects in the 1980s which fell into this category (NIACE/REPLAN and FEU 1990; Johnston 1987).

A particularly interesting example from the Caribbean is the collaboration between the Voice of Barbados and the Women and Development Unit of the University of the West Indies. Launched in 1985, the programme (‘People of Tomorrow’) has four main components and is aimed at unemployed youth. It has a weekly radio call-in service, follow-up interviewing and counselling, linkages to various kinds of training for work and a range of skills, personal development and group workshops provided by WAND (Fordham 1990).

Examples of top-down non-formal programmes are easy to find: almost all employer-led and State provided training falls into this category. And this has led some writers, especially those who approach the subject from a management or training in organization’s perspective, to classify the top-down as ‘training’, and where there is more employee involvement as ‘informal’ learning. When approaching such usage it may be that for some writers ‘informal’ is indistinguishable from `non-formal’ as used in this item. What Coombs called ‘informal’, then becomes ‘incidental’ (Marsick & Watkins 1990). This is confusing only if you see terminology as more unchanging than the programmes described and analysed. Remember that ‘non-formal’ was invented by development planners to try and change perspectives about educational policy making. ‘Informal’ in the Marsick & Watkins sense is a better descriptor for their different purposes.

If we stay for a moment with this dual terminology, the distinction between top-down and bottom-up, or between ‘training’ and ‘informal’, becomes one of purpose and a sense of ownership. The bottom-up (‘informal’) is also often more effective in producing learning which lasts and is used to influence behaviour or change attitudes in the real world. Trainers ‘design short-term activities, they typically select a discrete array of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that experts deem most appropriate to a topic the organization believes is important for its employees to master’. However, learning less formally in the workplace makes easier transfer to real life of what is learned, and there are the beginnings of a sense of ownership (Marsick and Watkins 1990: 4-5). This is very similar to the Bernard argument quoted above.

Advocates of bottom-up NFE, or of ‘informal’ learning as used in the above paragraph, are drawing on a much older tradition in adult education than the NFE concept. This tradition has its home in the English-speaking world, in Scandinavia and in Germany and has a more restricted geographical and cultural currency than that given to ‘non-formal’ by the World Bank and others. This older tradition was seen at its best in the classes of the Workers’ Educational Association (Stocks 1953) and in the educational work of countless voluntary organizations. For example, the YWCA included `informal education’ in its 1961 statement of aims and, though reference here to education is unspecific, the YWCA at that time would certainly have considered ‘that group meetings for any constructive purpose provide in essence an educational experience’ (Lowe 1973: 181). For the United States there is a full account of contemporary ideas about ‘informal education’ in Knowles (1950).

The top-down and bottom-up approaches came together very effectively in the 1984-91 REPLAN programme, sponsored and funded by the British Government but delivered by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education and the Further Education Unit.

Policy developed through a dialogue between planners and bureaucrats on the one hand and field workers on the other: wisdom was there at the margins and was listened to and understood at the centre. NIACE in particular used this opportunity to create something of a movement for change… Field workers from the voluntary sector were brought together with local authority staff… in a common cause which all felt to be worthwhile. The rather vague official aim of encouraging “the best possible” education and training for unemployed adults was underpinned by professional values which put the learner first and sought to maximise learner participation at all levels.

Nyerere`s dictum about change (quoted in Purposes above), was fulfilled quite admirably by REPLAN ( Fordham 1992).

Before leaving questions concerning the differences between informal, non-formal and formal education it is worth returning to the notion of curriculum or educational programme. Earlier, I suggested that the professional attempt to carry forward an educational programme in all cases was what distinguished a non-formal education project from more general community work or from informal (i.e. incidental) learning. One reading of this could focus on the presence or absence of the professional intervention. Another could attend to to curriculum or the structuring in advance of the educational encounter. In this way formal education would broadly approximate to top-down curriculum formation; non-formal to bottom-up or negotiated curriculum formation; and informal education would arguably be a non-curriculum form (see Jeffs and Smith 1990: 14-17).

Basic education and the Jomtien Conference

This large international conference was convened jointly by three UN agencies (UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP) and the World Bank (WCEFA 1990). It was intended to address the continuing `world crisis’ in education. In doing so it was intended to highlight the importance and impact of basic education and renew commitment to make it available for all; forge a global consensus on a framework for action to meet the basic learning needs of children, youth and adults; provide a forum for sharing experiences and research results.

However, although the World Conference gave rhetorical support to education for all, it is widely acknowledged that it was mainly about formal schooling, with special emphasis on the improved management and performance of primary schools. (For a discussion of strategies for primary education in the South see Colclough with Lewin (1993)). Thus although the `non-formal’ idea has achieved some of the objectives of its inventors, there seems a continuing need to retain it for those who continue to see education solely in terms of schools. It has been argued by Kenneth King (1991) that it succeeded in dramatically extending the horizons of many educators beyond the school, so that significant policy attention was given to the neglected area of adult and community education. However, the Jomtien Conference, intended to be a `great meeting ground for educators, financiers, businessmen, publishers and media interests’, turned out to be dominated by Ministry of Education officials; most of them are still concerned mainly with schools.

If you refer to the Purposes section above, you will see that non-formal education is likely to be promoted, not only by those who see themselves as educators, but also by others whose main business is, say, health, agriculture, employment creation, women’s emancipation and so on. For these groups, and for the continuing education of formal educators, the non-formal idea is still relevant. In his reflections on Jomtien, Peter Williams (1990) asks rhetorically:

Has the pendulum of fashion not swung excessively far from the 1970s when in international fora, non-formal education was all the rage and the place of schools was somewhat downplayed?

This is also a question for you to answer.


Archer, D. & Costello, P (1990) Literacy and Power, London: Earthscan Publications.

Bernard, A, (1991) `Learning and Intervention: The Informal Transmission of the Knowledge and Skills of Development’ in IDRC,Perspectives on Education for All, Ottawa, International Development Research Centre.

Castle, E.(1972) Education for Self Help, London: Oxford University Press.

Colcough, C. with Lewin, K. M. (1993) Educating All The Children. Strategies for primary schooling in the South, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Coombs, P. (1968) The World Educational Crisis, New York, Oxford University Press.

Coombs, P. (1985) The World Crisis in Education, New York: Oxford University Press.

Coombs, P. with Prosser, R & Ahmed, M (1973) New Paths to Learning, New York: International Council for Educational Development.

Coombs, P. with Ahmed, M. (1974) Attacking Rural Poverty, Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press.

Fordham, P. (ed.) (1980) Participation, Learning and Change, London, Commonwealth Secretariat.

Fordham, P. (1990) `Commonwealth Experience in the Use of Distance Teaching for the Non-Formal Education of Adults’, University of Warwick, INCED, DCE Paper 4, pp 10-40.

Fordham, P. (1992) `Replan 1984-1991′ Studies in the Education of Adults 24 (2): 225-228.

Fordham, P., Poulton, G. and Randle, L (1979) Learning Networks in Adult Education, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Hall, B. & Kidd, J. (eds.) Adult Learning: a design for Action, Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Inter-Agency Commission (1990) Final Report of World Conference on Education For All, New York: UNICEF House.

Jeffs, T. and Smith, M. K. (eds.) (1990) Using Informal Education. An alternative to casework, teaching and control?, Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Johnston, R.(1987) Exploring the Educational Needs of Unwaged Adults, Leicester: NIACE/REPLAN.

King, K. (1991) Aid and Education in the Developing World. The role of donor agencies in educational analysis, Harlow: Longman.

Knowles, M. (1950) Informal Adult Education, New York: Association Press.

LaBelle, T.(1976) `Goals and Strategies of Nonformal Education in Latin America’, Comparative Education Review 20 (October): 328-345.

Lowe, J.(1973) Adult Education in England and Wales, London: Michael Joseph.

Marsick, V & Watkins, K. (1990) Informal and Incidental Learning in the Workplace, London: Routledge.

Mokades, J. et al (1987) Charting the Change, Leicester: NIACE/REPLAN.

NIACE/REPLAN & Further Education Unit (1990) Drawing on Experience, Leicester & London: NIACE & FEU.

Nyerere, J. K. (1978) ‘”Development is for man, by man, and of man”: the Declaration of Dar es Salaam’ in B. L. Hall and J. R. Kidd (eds.) Adult Learning. A design for action, Oxford: Pergamon.

Rubenson, K.(1982) Interaction Between Formal and Non-Formal Education Paris, Paper for Conference of the International Council for Adult Education.

Simkins, T. (1976) Non-Formal Education and Development, University of Manchester: Department of Adult & Higher Education.

Stocks, M. (1953) The Workers’ Educational Association, London: George Allen & Unwin.

Stoney, S. et al (1990) Evaluation of the REPLAN Programme, London: National Foundation for Educational Research, (unpublished).

Tawney, R. (1964) The Radical Tradition, London: George Allen & Unwin.

UNESCO (1972) Learning to Be (prepared by Faure, E. et al), Paris: UNESCO.

UNESCO (1992) Education for All: An Expanded Vision Monograph 2 (prepared by UNESCO (1992) Education for All: The Purposes Monograph 1 (prepared by Sheila Haggis) ,Paris: UNESCO.

Williams, P. (1990) `Education for All’ in Education for All: a View of the 90s University of Warwick, BATROE Conference Papers, INCED/CELT pp 7-17.

World Bank (1974) Education Sector Working Paper, Washington: World Bank.

Writer: Paul Fordham worked in university adult education in Uganda, Kenya and the UK, including the Directorship of Departments in Nairobi and Southampton. He has been a consultant in several African and Asian countries.

© 1993 Paul E. Fordham.

Ackowledgements: Picture: Playing games @ one of Seva Mandir’s Non-Formal Education Centers. Picture by Anna Wolf and sourced from Flickr. Reproduced under a Creatvive Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)  licence. Produced as part of the YMCA George Williams College BA/BA(Hons) Informal and Community Education programme. Reproduced here with permission (2014).

How to cite this piece: Fordham, P. (1993). ‘Informal, non-formal and formal education programmes’ in YMCA George Williams College ICE301 Lifelong learning, Unit 1 Approaching lifelong learning. London: YMCA George Williams College. Available in the informal education archives. [ Retrieved: insert date]

Published in the informal education archives: August 2014