Education is an essential component of any society. It helps people develop the skills and mindset to navigate a rapidly changing world.
And that's just the beginning.
Education is an investment in our future. It makes us better prepared to learn new skills and do things we've never done before, whether that's advancing in our careers or pursuing a new hobby or interest.
Still, the value of formal education is something that many people argue about, but few disagree. Some say that the actual value of an education is in its ability to provide skills for future employment. Others say that the benefits of an education are in the opportunity to learn and explore new things.
This article will look at what makes formal education an essential component of our lives. But before that, a little something about education and its types.
Education: Definition and Types
Education is the process of acquiring knowledge by developing the capacity to act, solve problems, think, and transform society for the better.
There are three main types of education – formal, informal, and non-formal.
- Formal education is the term used to describe any school-based classroom learning.
- Informal education happens in our day-to-day lives. These are life experiences that decide our attitudes, values, etc.
- Non-formal education refers to learning that does not occur in a classroom or when formal education happens outside a school environment.
What is Formal Education?
Formal education refers to the systematic and sequential acquiring of knowledge and skills – usually at a school, university, or college.
For a large part of history, formal education has been taught using a set of lectures, reading assignments, homework, and exams. This approach was beneficial because it allowed students to develop their knowledge. In this way, students worked to gain the skills to help them succeed in life.
Although there are many ways to approach education, it is important to remember that this learning style imparts the skills and knowledge needed to lead successful lives personally and professionally. Formal education programs like the NCERT are recognized by the relevant national educational authorities or equivalent.
Formal learning is typically associated with ‘doing’. Students participating in formal learning activities are given instructional goals and objectives. It can be as simple as reading an article or as complex as earning a Ph.D. The learning process is guided by established criteria consistent with the goals and objectives. Lastly, when learning through formal education, students have the incentive to receive a degree or certificate at the end successfully.
India has a strong tradition of formal education. The education levels in India range from primary school to high school, then onwards to college and/or university education.
Characteristics of Formal Education
- A structurally specific curriculum
- Certified teachers with authority to teach the curriculum
- An evaluation criterion (grading system)
- Time-bound courses
- Involves scheduled fees
- Attendance-oriented programs
What are the benefits of formal education?
- Firstly, formal education serves as the primary platform to gain opportunities to learn about new subjects and explore different fields of study. It also helps develop significant personal abilities, such as leadership skills.
- It provides a way to connect like-minded people with similar interests.
- Learning about numerous subjects gives students insight into many other areas of learning and can serve as the basis of their chief interests and future career path. In terms of the bigger picture, it helps them develop their job skills.
- It helps develop a good work ethic. Schools emphasize learning by doing, which means that students with a good work ethic can also become better at prioritizing and managing their time.
- Schools emphasize communication by focusing on students' verbal and written skills. These are necessary for success in a job market where communication is critical.
- Classroom collaboration teaches students how to work in teams and communicate with other people at school, which can help them later in the workplace.
- A significant advantage of formal education is that it provides a background for a stable profession, thus reflecting a higher level of employability.
Why is formal education important?
- Formal education teaches students how to learn and process information systematically.
- Learning from various resources and being exposed to different ideas allow individuals to better understand what they are learning. They cannot simply read and memorize learning material. Proper learning requires interaction, testing, and applying knowledge to new situations.
- It trains students to be critical thinkers. These skills are necessary for success in a high-pressure, competitive world.
- Formal education enables people to live up to their potential and provide for themselves and others in the future. More importantly, without it, students would not have the opportunity to explore and discover their passions and interests.
Education is the process of acquiring knowledge and learning skills. It can be formal, informal, or non-formal education. Formal education is an essential component of any society. It is the first platform that offers students opportunities to explore varied fields of study. While it can be lengthy and often expensive, it builds critical thinking, vital personal skills, provides a background for stable employment, and builds their potential.