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Short essay on Non-formal education in India

Edupreneurship, Learning Achievements, Vocational Training

NFE is one of the recent concepts being adopted in Indian Education. In the context of the Indian situation, non-formal education has assumed a slightly different connotation. It has been accepted as complementary and supplementary to the formal education.

It has been widely accepted by our government and people because the formal system has failed or is inadequate to fulfil our commitment to the constitutional directive (Art. 45) that is, to achieve universalization of elementary education for all the children of 6-14 age group within the fixed time limit. Further, non-formal education is aimed at providing educational facilities to those children of 9-14 age groups who, on account of one reason or another, could not complete elementary education or dropped out before they could do so.


NFE is one of the recent concepts being adopted in India. It has been accepted as complementary and supplementary to the formal education.

Programmes are meant for:

(a) Out of school youth.

(b) Adults.

(c) Women.

(d) Emerging leadership.

The programme of NFE basically differs from that of Adult Education Programme (AEP) on age. In the former case it is 9-14, while in the latter case it is 15-35 years. Moreover, in NFE the emphasis is more on socio-academic component besides the learning of 3 R’s. In AEP, the emphasis is more on socio-economic (including vocational) aspects.


There are certain categories of people who stand in special need of non-formal education.

(a) Out of School Youth.

Out of school youth are in the age group of 15-25. The size of the group is about 20 per cent of the total population. Its members are generally alert, inquisitive, impression- able, and capable of being inspired by emotional commitments to the service of people and the country. As Educand therefore, they offer rich and potential material that is much easier to handle than either children of younger age or adults.

By and large, these programmes will have to be part-time. But in many cases short full-time courses can also be arranged with great advantage.

(b) Adults.

To begin with, we divide programmes of adult education into two parts: (1) Continuing education for those who have already completed elementary, secondary and higher education and (2) Education of the poor and deprived groups which will include further education of those who are illiterates; literacy programmes, and even the further education of those who are illiterate and may not desire to be literate.

(c) Women.

We should develop programmes for women similar to those which have been described earlier for men. Programmes for better care and upbringing of children, family planning, and preservation of food, nutrition, and improved culinary practices have special interest and significance for women.

The training of women workers for delivery of health care services and for provision of non-formal education emphasised. Condensed courses which help women who have missed regular school to complete their formal studies in a short period and seek employment have been found to be useful; and there is urgent need to develop worker’s education programmes for women workers in the organised industry.

(d) Emerging Leadership.

A new leadership from masses and especially from rural areas is now emerging in many walks of life. It is particularly growing in the political sphere where it is getting elected to membership of local bodies, state legislatures, and parliament.

Very often it is found that this new leadership is not fully equipped to discharge the responsibilities which it has assumed. The development of non formal education programme for this social group, with a view to enabling it to discharge its responsibilities satisfactorily is obviously a programme of high significance and priority.

A similar group is that of ‘Opinion- leaders’ in rural areas who play a significant role in moulding community I thinking and action in their localities. Their training through non-formal channels will have far reaching consequences for development and social transformation.

Preserve Articles, 16 January 2012


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