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Types of education

Types of education

Education is a continuous and gradual activity. It is a process of acquiring knowledge, which if put to use can be of use to the individual and society. It is ubiquitous because, it was knowledge which helped in the advancement of mankind. 

A very narrow interpretation of education could be ‘amassing of knowledge through study or imparting it others’, the ultimate objective of which would be to transform the individual and society  by putting it to practical use. This raises the question of the types of education and how important it is. 

There are basically three types of education:

  1. Formal education
  2. Informal education
  3. Non-formal education


This is the type of education imparted in schools, colleges and universities.  These courses are structured and curriculum based and involves full time study. Learning centers on specific subjects depending on the level of study. So at the primary and secondary education level subjects may include languages and mathematics. Whereas, in higher studies it may involve more advanced study on humanities, sciences or professional courses like law, medicine etc. At the end of the course the students would be examined and if they have successfully cleared it, certificates would be awarded.


We learn from our home or place of work. For example how to cook a ‘bull’s eye’ we may have learnt from home and how to use a drill from our place of work. Experience being the great teacher our school would be the ‘environment’ in which we live. It is a long drawn process and there are no time tables or curriculum. Sometimes it may be through self-study which we do at our own pace. But the importance of informal education is as great as formal education if not more.


It is meant for people deprived of school education or those who wish to acquire additional skills or knowledge for adults who had no access of higher education. For many it may be to augment their work skills which may be through practical adult learning. Unlike formal education its strength lies in its flexibility. Courses content may be diverse and teaching methods customized. Hence unlike formal education, the candidate can study from home at their own pace using distance learning or computer aided instruction. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that learning is on the basis of real life examples and active participation of a student.  With the dawn of information society, the prospects of non-formal education has increased in leaps and bound. ELearning has become possible due to the widespread penetration of tools like Skype etc.  Learning has not only become affordable but the emergence of the virtual class room, has changed the way people learn. 

As knowledge is power, education is an empowering process. In this information age, lack of education is the greatest handicap. Fortunately as there many options available to overcome this handicap. All that is needed is a willingness to study and motivation to continue doing so. 

Erkut N.