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Adult Access to Learning Opportunities: A Digest

In international discussions, it is conventional to subdivide the topic of adult and continuing education into three categories: formal, non-formal and informal adult and continuing education.  Thereafter, the definitions tend to differ in important ways.  A useful formulation gives the following content to the categories:

  • Formal: What is provided by the education and training system set up or sponsored by the state for the specific purpose of educating and training adults.
  • Non-formal: The learning and educational opportunities available to adults outside the formal system in agencies and contexts with primary objectives to which education and training are subordinate.
  • Informal: The lifelong process by which every person acquires and accumulates knowledge, skills and attitudes and insights from daily experience and exposure to the environment – at home, at work, and in leisure. Read more