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what are the characteristics of non formal education

NFE then, in its infancy, meant many things to many people. Coming as it did from within the deficit paradigm of development, there was no coherence yet behind the concept, just a series of vague, often overlapping or contradictory, perceptions of what was felt to be a newly identified field of activity. NFE could mean a system, a collection of organisations and programmes different from the formal education system. Or a process, with different teaching-learning relationships from those in formal education, a less hierarchical format. Or a concept, a subject worthy of study and writing about. Or yet a practice, a professional activity undertaken by people separate from formal education professionals. Or yet a set of educational activities distinguished from formal education by having different goals or purposes, or even separated from formal schooling by being socially purposeful, part of the radical social transformation movement.
It was this last strand which made the first move to bring some measure of coherence to this confusion.

This study aims to describe the current position of non‐formal education (NFE) as a major educational force in the postmodern world, and to analyze its philosophical and theoretical assumptions. Far from being ‘supplementary education’ or ‘extracurricular activities’, NFE has developed into a worldwide educational industry. However, it has yet to be studied as an independent educational approach. Aimed at all ages and literacy levels, NFE challenges traditional concepts of education. It affects society as a whole and the life and conduct of individuals, and has influenced formal education, which has adopted many of its theoretical assumptions and pedagogical practices.
1. Professor Mirjam Schmida passed away when this paper was in the final stages of completion. It is with deep sadness that I dedicate it to her memory and with great appreciation of her groundbreaking work in educational research.

References:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03057640902904472?src=recsys
http://www.ista.ie/stem-education-in-the-irish-school-system-analysis-and-recommendations/