UNESCO defines Non-Formal Education as “Any organized and sustained educational activity that does not correspond exactly with the definition of formal education. Non-Formal Education may therefore take place both within and outside educational institutions, and cater to persons of all ages. Depending on country contexts, it may cover educational programs to impart adult literacy, basic education for out of school children, life skills, work-skills, and general culture. Non-Formal Education Programs do not necessarily follow the “ladder” system, and may have a differing duration.”
UNESCO has subdivided non-formal education into three categories based on geographical access, length of the program and learning pathways. Alternative school programs often look exactly like a formal school program, but are focused on a different group of learners, operate in different geographical areas and /or offer different curricula and methods. Alternative school programs also include programs that provide standard curricula but in a non-traditional environment (such as one-room home schools).
The accelerated learning programs, compress a curriculum designed to deliver over a number of years into a smaller duration. In Pakistan, for example the formal primary education cycle unfolds over 60 months, whereas non-formal education system, the curriculum might be compressed into a 40 month cycle. And, the alternative learning pathway covers all sorts of programs that are offered outside the formal education system.
CCF has learnt over the years that in our rural areas where poverty is at its highest, children are not given the option of becoming a student. They are rather made workers of family or external contractors. In both conditions the age of the child is of little consideration because poverty leaves no choice for a child or his parents. In other words, the only choice underprivileged parents and their children have is between food and no food.
This is where the concept of Non-Formal Education, the best of both worlds, comes in. The reason why it is called Non-Formal is that it is free, and does not necessarily require a large school building; it does not require any pre-requisites of Formal Education. Non-Formal Education is flexible, adaptable and practical in nature, allowing children to carry out their work and study simultaneously. Non-Formal Basic Education (NFBE) Programs are community based in approach and are adopted by many developing countries including Pakistan. Objective is to provide education to children at their doorsteps.
CCF NFS provides primary education in 3 to 4 years
CCF NFS uses government designed/approved syllabus & textbooks
CCF NFS children are those who have never been to a school
CCF NFS are meant for ‘Child Labourers’ of rural areas
CCF NFS functions for 4 hours with daily attendance of 85%
CCF NFS are set up at the doorsteps of poor communities
CCF NFS classrooms are rented / donated community buildings
CCF NFS accommodates girls & boys of different age groups
CCF NFS provides free books & other facilities to children
CCF NFS provides recreational opportunities to school children
CCF NFS provides continuous training to school teachers
CCF NFS children/mothers are taught vocational skills
CCF NFS are monitored by local committees & CCF field staff
CCF NFS final primary exams are held under government supervision (PEC)
CCF NFS primary pass children are mainstreamed in government schools
CCF NFS provide 100% free quality education to school children
CCF NFS screen & vaccinate school children against Hepatitis-B