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Different Types of Education Explained

Let’s see in this post the types of education and their characteristics. That is, what are different ways education is grouped and how do we describe those categories or types of education.

Although there are other ways to state types of education, we will focus with the most general way of categorizing them and, perhaps talk a little about the other types later.

With that said, the three main types of education and their features is as discussed below…

Types of education

  • Formal education
  • Informal education
  • Non-formal education

Formal Education

Formal education is the type of education given in schools: primary school, secondary school, universities, colleges, etc. This is the most popular type of education and it is what most people think when they hear education or being a learned person.

Features of formal education

1. There is always a set target within a limit timeframe. For example, a student will study engineering for five years, after which he is expected to be qualified as a graduate engineer.

2. Planned for a specific period, with a particular end in view. Formal education runs on academic calendar. There isn’t much flexibility and the students should run at the same pace if everyone must be carried along, equally. Although this can’t be possible.

3. Bases on a well-defined curriculum. Courses and topics covered are based on the curriculum.

4. Given by academically qualified teachers. Although an academically qualified person may not be a qualified teacher. In other words, your paper qualification (education level) can qualify you as a teacher.

4. Usually include extracurricular activities and sports

5. Discipline is always observed

Informal Education

Informal education is the type of education not imparted by specialized agency like schools or colleges. Learning can be spontaneous and at any time. For example, a child learns from things around her as she grows. parents, environment, other kids, etc.

Features of informal education

1. Can be learnt anywhere and at anytime.

2. Specialized agency like schools are not involved

3. Not pre-planned like in formal education.

4. Specially qualified teachers are not needed.

5. Does not run on prescribed time-table or academic curriculum.

5. Learning can be on anything

Non-Formal Education

Non-formal education is the type of education outside realm of formal education. It is usually well planned, unlike informal education. Basically, the difference between formal and non-formal education is that formal education is administered by certain types of specialized agencies (like universities, colleges, etc) whereas non-formal education is not.

Features of non-formal education

1. Not administered by primary schools, universities or similar specialized agencies.

2. Planned, organized

3. Not in the realm of formal education.

4. Usually organised for a homogeneous group to serve the need of the identified group.

Types of education based on level of study

  • Primary education
  • Secondary education
  • Bachelor’s degree (first degree obtained at the universities and other higher institutions)
  • Master’s degree
  • Doctoral degree

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