Agencies of education are the gateway through which the objective of education is realized. Among other agencies of education, non-formal agencies are called the agencies of mass education.
Formal education has little scope for mass education. Informal education is aimless and ambiguous. But non-formal education is the real hope to minimize the gap between both formal and informal and make balance between both. So in order to give and provide liberal, flexible, standard, cheap and qualitative education as per the need of an individual, society and the country non-formal education is the best agency.
Meaning of Non-Formal Education:
It is like formal institution in shape but the spirit is individual-centric, learner-centric. It gives first priority to the choice, needs and problems of the learner and provides good and systematic education to a larger group through various modes.
Characteristics of Non-Formal Education:
(1) It is purposefully and systematically created.
(2) It has a clear-cut goal to provide education to the mass.
(3) It is very flexible and liberal type of education taking the numerous differences of individual in account.
(4) It is organized for a homogeneous group of deprived worker class, women, and dropouts.
(5) It uses different advanced forms of methods including audio-visual aids for quick transaction of information and teaching.
(6) It can touch every doorstep with a package of various educational programmes.
(7) It is based on the principle “Learn while you earn and learning according to your pace and your place”.
Role of Non-Formal Education:
Now we are in the stage of information explosion. Every one wants to get education and to educate the society. So school cannot provide opportunity for all in different education. It is also a difficult task for the government to accommodate all in the formal classroom.
Therefore, non-formal education is an innovative idea to provide need based various types of education through suitable and easy means. It takes the support of mass media for the education of the mass.
Now student turn their interest for non-formal education because formal education could not provide job opportunity to them. So while earning they can learn through non-formal channels like open university, distance education, correspondence mode, and teleconferencing. So universalisation of education and the mission of the country i.e. 100% literacy can be possible through non-formal education. It helps 6-14 age group dropouts to continue their education and to eradicate illiteracy. It is to take on a leisure time activity for the education to make their education to lifelong affair. So the non-formal education can educate all by imparting knowledge, developing skills and promoting social values among them. It is the evolution of education in a new form in the society.