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Should Informal Education Receive better Acknowledgment than Formal Education?

One of the most ongoing arguments of our present-day education system is the fact that not most people still believe formal education, is the best approach to a successful life anymore. There are a variety of reasons why the notion, has etched its way into the mindset of both well mannered, and ill-mannered individuals.

In this article, we are going to crush these reasons, giving our readers the ability to weigh the pros, and cons, of both sides, and make their own personal deduction. But before this is done, we have to enlighten our readers on the meaning and understanding, of both formal and informal education.

What is formal education?

According to Wikipedia.com, formal education can be defined as education, normally delivered by trained teachers in a systematic, intentional way within a school, higher education or University. Now, what this tries to explain is that formal education takes place in an organized system that has its own set of rules, that governs the participants.

Failure or disobedience to these rules packs its own punishment. Formal education works with a formal curriculum. A curriculum is a set of courses, or course works and their contents, offered in a school or University. These courses are normally graded to rate the performance of the students receiving them.

When it comes to formal education, learning and grading are divided into academic sessions. During these academic sessions, students are taught, and given test and examinations, to evaluate how far their they have gone in understanding the courses taught to them. The formal education system basically consists of the creche, primary institution, secondary institution, and tertiary institution.

It takes a series of years, and hard work, to be done with this system of learning, after which, one is offered a certificate of proof, that he/she has completed this system. This certificate also comes with a rating of the individual’s performance, while they undertook the system.

What is the informal education system?

Informal education can be defined in various ways, but we prefer to go with the definition from Wikipedia. Now, wikipedia.com defines informal education, as a general term given to education, that can occur outside of a structured curriculum. This means that this form of education is not subject to a classroom, and does not make use of an organized curriculum for learning.

It can commence in different ways, depending on the learner’s choice or mode of understanding. This mode of learning requires more practical work most times, as the person normally learns a form of art or trade. But, it could also include learning regular classroom work, from the comfort of your home by tutoring yourself, or getting a private tutor to coach you in learning your area of interest.

More about the informal education system

Informal education could include any of the following, private tutoring or homeschooling, self-teaching, and apprenticeship e.t.c. No grade is given, no test or examination scores are given. It does not function like formal education, in the sense that no certificate is being offered. This form of education does not involve academic sessions, as the participants have no time limit, as to when to move over to more complex material. The individual’s time limit depends on, his/her speed of understanding.

Now that we are done with giving you the basic understanding, of both formal and informal education, we would move along to the trashing of the pros, and cons, of both forms of education. Mind you, we chose to head in this direction, because, everyone has a point of view that may vary according to their taste. So this article is meant to be as unbiased as possible.

Pros of the formal education system

As the saying goes, “no knowledge is a waste”, this is one of the most important criteria of the formal education system. In the formal education system, a child starts to learn or gather various knowledge, from the diversity of the school curriculum.

The curriculum ensures that, before a student discovers whatever occupational sector they would venture into, they must have had in-depth knowledge, on various forms of courses, related to both the art and science sections of life. This helps a smart and studious student to gain, or have processed information related to various walks of life, before even determining the direction he is headed.

For instance, a student, who applies to study medicine and surgery, should focus more on biological and chemical-related courses right? But, due to the rules, and curriculum of formal education, such a student would have also done physical and mathematical courses, related to engineering.

In fact, financial courses such as business studies, and art courses like fine art, would have already been taught to such a student, in the secondary school system, before they finally get to choose their major direction. Hence, knowledge diversity.
Communication is a very important tool for a successful life. Without adequate communication skills, it is impossible to handle customers, or business potentials, from all walks of life. This is what the tertiary institutions prepare us for. People from different parts of the country apply for education into the university.

As a result of this, students are blessed to relate and learn various cultural activities, that should have been alien to them. The Nigerian tribalistic boundary could be bridged as a result of friendly communication, between people of various tribal backgrounds. Things like this, enable one to communicate effectively when they leave their comfort zones.

Now, people who went through years of such interactions can easily excel in the communication aspect of life, wherever they find themselves in the country. For example, an Igbo man who had a Hausa friend would have acquired some friendly cultural ideas, on how to ease the tension between both parties, if he finds himself in such a situation.
Let me first start by explaining what a niche is for a better understanding. A niche could mean a position, or area of expertise one is very much accustomed to. Now a business inclined person would want to create a niche that he understands, and it should equally favor him. But this is not easy unless one has lots of friends, and experience in dealing with various people from all walks of life.

Some friends we make in the university, end up being long-time partners and helpers. This helps in the area connectivity because, from such friends or partners, we have strings attached to people, who have both had reasonable communications, and alliance with our partners. It, therefore, becomes easier, for a business-oriented individual, to create their niche.

Cons of the formal education system

  • Everybody has a different way of processing information. This means that not everyone would understand lessons being delivered, according to how the teacher delivers it. In other words, formal education is really rigid. Therefore, students who are not in sync, with the lecturer’s modus operandi, would find such classes boring and begin to lose concentration. Thus, a smart individual could be considered dumb, because, they can’t follow up with the rest of the class.
  • Have you ever heard the saying, “everything cracks under pressure”? Pressure, duress, they both mean the same thing. This is by far the most disadvantage associated with formal education. Students go through a lot of pressure. The pressure to pass, the pressure to cover up the curriculum, pressure from both parents and guardians to overachieve. This excess pressure is not conducive to everyone. Sometimes, students crack under this pressure and would use any means possible to get an impressive certificate. At d end of the day, such a student would actually graduate without sufficient knowledge, in their area of expertise. You might also love to know the Reason Extracurricular Activities should be Encouraged Across Nigerian Schools

Pros of informal education

It is well known that people who undergo informal education, are practically involved in the uncensored version of society. This helps in building an early self-survival instinct, and an ability to handle the undaunted stress the society would throw at them.
Mistakes would be made for sure, but corrections would also be taken, and all these are done at an earlier age. We all know the saying that goes thus “experience is the best teacher.” There is no way a formal educationalist, would acquire such skill faster, and better than an informal educationalist.
Though someone with a complete formal education background, would create a niche faster than the latter, individuals with informal education, have the advantage of starting this process really early. For instance, a formal educationalist who has an interest in the entertainment sector would experience certain limitations due to rules of the curriculum i.e there are places u can’t be at certain times, due to classes, tests, or examinations. Whereas, their informal counterparts would have no such limitations, and would have met more entertainers, and media coverage if they were both to start from a small scale.
One of the pros of informal education is its Swiftness and abruptness. This also comes with the fact that a person who passes through informal education, has a choice to choose whatever program they decide. This allows such individuals to cut around the stiff axis of time, associated with the formal education system.

Cons of informal education

  • Now, in our modern-day society, a good certificate is considered by the majority, as a clear path to success. Huge companies and industries, give better and high paying positions, to graduates of the universities. Individuals who pass through the informal process, are considered unskilled labor. They are always underpaid and are supervised by their formal counterparts. It doesn’t matter if the former has a better knowledge of the work than the latter. Therefore, most informal educationalist, go through the tedious task of growing their own businesses. Our job-seeking society doesn’t just work in their favor.
  • Like we said before, informal education provides one with lots of choices, and freedom. While this might be a good weapon, it could also be a great temptation to lose concentration. This form of education normally puts individuals in a carefree environment. One who can easily lose concentration in the absence of adequate guardians tends to lose focus, and derail off the right track.

Conclusion

Now, I believe we have impacted some pretty ideas, into our various readers. Like we said earlier, we are going to be unbiased, and let you choose for yourselves what works best. As the saying goes, “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”, so does the opinion of our readers. Now, search your hearts, tweak your mind and decide, “what works best for you?”.

FAQs:

What is formal education?

Formal education can be defined as education, normally delivered by trained teachers in a systematic, intentional way within a school, higher education or University.

What is informal education?

Informal education can be defined in various ways, but we prefer to go with the definition from Wikipedia. Now, wikipedia.com defines informal education, as a general term given to education, that can occur outside of a structured curriculum.

What are the Pros of the formal education system?

1. Knowledge diversity
2. Increases social communication skills
3. Helps to create a niche

What are the Cons of the formal education system?

1. Everybody has a different way of processing information.
2. The pressure to pass, the pressure to cover up the curriculum, pressure from both parents and guardians to overachieve.

What are the Pros of informal education?

1. Early knowledge of self-survival
2. The early building of a niche
3. Quick cut around the corners

What are the Cons of informal education?

1. Now, in our modern-day society, a good certificate is considered by the majority, as a clear path to success.
2. Like we said before, informal education provides one with lots of choices, and freedom.

By Victor Alex

Hey, I'm Victor Alex, an Entrepreneur, content developer, Educator and web developer. I am a content writer here on i2careers.com, read and enjoy great motivating and educative content from me.

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