Brief notes on the Types of educational agencies


Agencies of Education may be classified as:

(a)Formal and Informal Agencies

(b)Active and Passive Agencies


(a) Formal and Informal Agencies of Education. Certain agencies are developed with the specific and exclusive objective of imparting education. College, University etc., is such agencies. These are called formal agencies of education. The aims and the programmes of work of these agencies are pre-planned. The place of functioning and the time for which they must function are also decided in advance.

There are certain other agencies the specific and exclusive function of which is not to impart education; but, their educative influence cannot be ignored. The family, the community, the peer group, professional organisations etc., are some such agencies. These are called informal agencies of education. The children receive a lot of education through these agencies without making such of conscious and deliberate effort. These agencies diffuse and transmit culture and knowledge from one generation to another in an informal, unorganised manner.

(b) Active and Passive Agencies of Education. Agencies of education may also be classified as active and passive agencies.

The active agencies of education are ‘active’ and play a prominent role in imparting education. These agencies play their role through the interaction of persons involved in the educative process. The school is an active agency of education since the teachers and the pupils interact on each other. The family is an active agency of education as parents and children interact on each other. Education in case of active agencies is a two-way process. Besides the school and the family, other active agencies are the church, the state, the youth groups etc.


The passive agencies of education are those agencies which influence the learner but are not themselves influenced in return. In their case, education is a one-way process. The educational radio, educational television, the press, the theatre, the library are some of the important passive agencies of education. However, these agencies are subject to overall public opinion and public control.

Relative Role of Educational Agencies

Different agencies of education have a relative role to play. A child first comes into contact with his family and the family or the home influences the child more than any other agency does. From the family, the child steps into neighborhood environment. There he is influenced by the peer group.

Inside the home, he is influenced by the radio, the television, the press and individuals who keep visiting the family. When he starts going to school, it becomes the major agency of education for the child although a number of other agencies also keep playing their parallel role.


The modern concept of education is life-long education. The educative process does not stop with the completion of mere schooling or formal instruction in schools and colleges. True education begins when formal education ends. In other words, different agencies of education play complementary as well as supplementary roles.

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